“I need a gun,” is what a journalist requested as a safety measure to work in Veracruz, one of the most dangerous places for the Mexican press. After the request, Daniela Pastrana, of the Mexican organizationJournalists on Foot (Periodistas a Pie) responded to that journalist that a fire arm was not the solution, but her colleague from Veracruz insisted: “I don't want the gun to defend myself, but to make sure they don't catch me alive." The reporter's response came after five Mexican journalists were found dead with signs of torture in the last 30 days.
The 10th annual Austin Forum on Journalism in the Americas kicked off the night of Sunday, May 20, with an examination of some of the major security issues facing journalists throughout the Americas. During the Forum's opening session, Frank La Rue, the United Nations' special rapporteur for freedom of expression, along with newspaper editors from Mexico and Guatemala, highlighted the risks of independent reporting in a region increasingly racked by violence, corruption and rampant impunity.
The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) has called on the Venezuelan government to end its defamation campaign against the newspaper Notitarde, IAPA announced on its website on Friday, May 18. According to IAPA, the campaign is a "a malicious discrediting maneuver" initiated by federal and state legislators of the ruling party.
The fifth panel of the 10th annual Austin Forum on Journalism in the Americas, moderated by Mónica González, director of the Center for Journalistic Investigation (CIPER in Spanish) in Chile, discussed the "Endemic Violence Against Journalists and Media in Latin America" and the need for journalists to ally with NGOs, working in a long-term commitment. Also, the necessity for a greater solidarity amongt journalists was emphasized.
Mexican authorities of the state of Sonora in northeastern Mexico, confirmed the kidnapping of a police beat journalist who covers local security and justice issues, on Thursday, May 17, reported the Associated Press.
A bomb exploded in Bogota, Colombia, almost taking the life of ex-official turned journalist Fernando Londoño Hoyos, and leaving at least two dead and 40 people injured while creating chaos, panic, and confusion in the capital on Tuesday, May 15, reported the Daily News and the news agency EFE.
For the second time in one week, an armed group opened fire against a Mexican newspaper's headquarters in the state of Tamaulipas that is commonly harassed by organized crime. The attack happened the night of Friday, May 11, against the newspaper El Mañana of Nuevo Laredo, a city on the Texas border, according to Proceso. Previously, on May 7, another similar attack against the newspaper Hora Cero in the city of Reynosa was reported.
Brazilian Rep. Márcio Reinaldo Moreira slapped a reporter from the TV program Custe o que Custar (CQC) in the face, the night of Tuesday, May 8, in Brasilia, reported the portal UOL. Reporter Felipe Andreoli, victim of the attack, was interviewing the representative about the proposed constitutional amendment on slave work in Brazil and asked the politician if he didn't think it was unfair for the people to have to wait so long for such proposal to be voted on, according to the news site R7.
Although Bolivian President Evo Morales accused the press of distorting information on the same day the country celebrated Journalists' Day, on Thursday, May 10, the president said that freedom of the press in the country is "guaranteed" and approved a bill giving journalists life insurance, reported the news agency EFE, the newspaper La Razón, and the radio station FM Bolivia.
Amid Argentine public officials' mounting attacks against the press, the Inter American Press Association asked the Argentine government to "stop harassing and stigmatizing journalists,” reported the news agency Los Andes. The call comes as two more Argentine journalists were victims of officials' anti-press attitudes.