Press freedom attacks in Panama increase against journalists investigating corruption, union says

The Journalists' Union of Panama reported a 275-percent increase in the number of press freedom attacks in 2012, according the news agency Xinhua. The union's general secretary, Filemón Medina, mentioned four libel and slander lawsuits and five civil lawsuits against journalists and media outlets among the attacks, Nicaragua Hoy reported.

The union registered around 60 attacks against the Panamanian press in 2012. Medina said many of them were censorship attempts against journalists that investigate corruption scandals; among them, accusations against President Ricardo Martinelli for allegedly accepting bribes, AFP reported.

More recently, newspaper La Prensa accused the pro-government daily Panamá América of publishing false and misleading information about their vice president. “The staff of La Prensa and other non-official media outlets have received, in a consistent fashion, messages, attacks, pressures and visits from tax auditors, right after revealing government scandals," the newspaper reported on Dec. 23.

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.

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