At a meeting in Miami, the IAPA Executive Committee warned about the "deteriorating" situation of "freedom of expression in the Americas" as a result of violence caused by organized crime and "legal and judicial harassment" of journalists and media
The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) on Friday denounced the deterioration of press freedom in Latin America and, in particular, called upon Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa to "cease harassment of the press."
At a meeting in Miami, the IAPA Executive Committee warned about the "deteriorating" situation of "freedom of expression in the Americas" as a result of violence caused by organized crime and "legal and judicial harassment" of journalists and media.
During a press conference after the meeting, the IAPA expressed "deep concern" over the killings of 19 journalists so far in 2011. President of the Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information of IAPA Robert Rivard described such figures as "the most tragic balance of the last two decades for Latin American press."
Five journalists were killed in Mexico, four in Brazil, four in Honduras, and one in Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru, and Venezuela.
Rivard also criticized judicial harassment of the press in Brazil, El Salvador, Paraguay, and Venezuela, where journalists and the media have been censored and fined. He specifically highlighted the administrative sanctions imposed on private news TV network Globovisión in Venezuela and Teleamazonas in Ecuador.
As part of its report, the IAPA denounced the indiscriminate use of advertising and electoral propaganda to punish independent media, a practice the IAPA described as common in countries such as Argentina, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela.
The IAPA described in "hypocritical and disastrous" the policy of the governments of Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua and Venezuela regarding the media, as in recent years those countries have started to control various media, which they use as official propaganda organs.
President Nicolás Maduro is not only the heir to the throne, but also to an economic crisis which demanded urgent measures to rectify the course. The crisis showed up in two aspects: a 50% inflation estimate, and shortage of staples ranging between 70% and 98%. These issues might hit the President's poor popularity; considering his feeble electoral victory of 1% over his challenger.