Press association warns of "anti-democratic" attitude of governments throughout the hemisphere

By Ingrid Bachmann

Alejandro Aguirre, president of the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) said that in Latin America, democratically elected governments are falling to authoritarianism and increasingly restricting press freedom, reported Voice of America.

In a press conference, Aguirre gave the examples of VenezuelaEcuadorNicaraguaArgentina and Brazil, as cases where antagonistic relationships between authorities and the media have emerged, and where laws have been created that limit freedom of expression, according to the news agencies EFE and AFP.

In the case of Venezuela, Aguirre said that the arrest order for Guillermo Zuloaga, owner of the opposition station Globovisión, “demonstrates that the Caracas government does not tolerate freedom of expression."

IAPA said in a statement that the violence against journalists is threatening democracy in the Americas, and the group called on governments and multilateral organizations to join forces to fight the climate of violence and impunity the press is facing. “Our experience tells us that this is already a problem that one government alone cannot resolve,” Aguirre said.

IAPA board members also were concerned about the government's use of state advertising in Argentina, Guatemala, Ecuador and Nicaragua, and they criticized the restrictions on Brazilian media covering elections.

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.