IAPA rejects boycott of newspaper in Colombia, attempted raid on daily in Argentina

The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) has condemned the boycott against a newspaper in Colombia and the attempted raid on a daily in Argentina, which come amidst the growing number of incidents of aggression against the press in Latin America and somber reports about the future of freedom of expression in the region.

All of the Sunday editions of the Colombian newspaper El Heraldo in the city of Santa Marta were bought up on June 19 in what IAPA is calling a boycott. According to the newspaper, the goal was to prevent the dissemination of an article titled "Magdalena's Mafia Spiderweb" that -- based on a a column of political journalist Claudia López for La Silla Vacía -- describes alleged links between local politicians and paramilitaries.

IAPA president Gonzalo Marroquín called on authorities to "investigate and determine responsibility so that these acts do no re-occurr."

IAPA also applauded a judicial decision in Argentina that denied a request to raid the newspaper La Nueva Provincia in Bahía Blanca, south of Buenos Aires. The request was made by a prosecutor wanting to seize journalistic documents to serve as proof in cases of human rights abuses committed during the military dictatorship and Dirty War in Argentina, 1976-1983.

According to prosecutor Abel Córdoba, La Nueva Provincia published photos of torture victims in secret prisons, reported El Diario de Bahía. Página 12 reported that there is a "secret and confidential" report prepared by intelligence agents during the dictatorship that calls for an alleged "thinning" of the ranks of La Nueva Provincia, specifically referring to graphic journalists Enrique Heinrich and Miguel Angel Loyola, who were kidnapped, tortured and then shot to death.

The president of the Commission of Freedom of the Press and Information, Robert Rivard, expressed surprise at the prosecutor's "peculiar order," as what has been published in a newspaper already is public.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.