The president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, has urged the governors and mayors of his country to accept media criticism as a “bucket of cold water” and see if they are doing things well, according to the newspaper El País.
Santos’ comments came during the signing of the Declaration of Chapultepec by the officials. The Declaration, written by the Inter-American Press Association, or IAPA, urges all officials to protect freedom of expression in the region.
The president also said “there is no good government without absolute freedom of the press” and congratulated the participants for joining the fight in favor of press freedom, according to the news website La Prensa.
In his declarations Santos stressed that “the exercise of freedom of expression and freedom of the press is not a concession of the authorities; it is an inalienable right of the people,” which is guaranteed by the protection of journalists, according to the newspaper La Nación.
For such a reason, Santos highlighted his policies that protect journalists and freedom of expression, and which have seen deaths of journalists drop to zero. The policies have also provided government protection to 94 threatened journalists, according to La Portal.
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.