Panamanian press demands respect from President Ricardo Martinelli after insults and harassment

Roughly 1,500 journalists marched to the presidential palace of Panama to demand respect for freedom of expression on Tuesday, April 24, reported the Xinhua news agency.

The march was organized after president Ricardo Martinelli made accusations of drug addiction about a journalist who questioned him about alleged corruption during a press conference held Thursday, April 19, said the EFE news agency. On Monday, April 23, the Panamanian president offered a public apology to the insulted broadcast journalist, Hugo Famanía, of the RPC Televisión network, according to La Información.

Journalists also protested against the libel prosecution of three journalists from the TVN television network who reported on alleged corruption involving a member of the police, said the Associated Press.

Martinelli also verbally attacked the Panamanian press after revelations that Italian authorities are investigating an Italian businessman accused of bribing the Panamanian president in exchange for public security equipment, said the Spanish newspaper The Economist.