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Press Organization Cites Mexico as the Main Problem

By: Staff | Real Acapulco News - 10 November, 2010

(Acapulco, NA, 10 November) The 66th Annual Meeting of the Interamerican Press Society (SIP) took place in Acapulco. The group cited Mexico as the main problem in freedom of expression in the Americas because of organized crime violence in which journalists are assassinated with impunity. The intimidation of reporters inhibits full and fair news reporting. “The reality is that the climate of impunity still exists in Mexico, and it has not changed,” said Robert Rivard, the chairman of the Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, in a press conference at which the new president of the organization, Guatemalan Gonzalo Marroquín of the Diario Libre was introduced.

The Society has calculated that in the Americas in the last six months, 14 journalists have been assassinated in an attempt by criminals and politicians to control press reporting. Of these, half took place in Mexico. Five were killed in Honduras and two in Brazil. Rivard added that President Calderón has shown a willingness to make changes in the situation, “federalizing” crimes against reporters and promoting a policy of press protection. Nevertheless, the climate of impunity continues. President-elect Marroquín stated that the SIP supports the idea of “one large defensive push” against drug trafficking and organized crime, in Mexico and in every other country.

The society also considered a related issue of freedom of the press and expression, namely the efforts of politicians in some member countries to control what the press is permitted to say to the public. Uruguayan representative Claudio Paolillo of Búsqueda magazine pointed the finger specifically at Bolivia, Ecuador and Venezuela. Outgoing president Danilo Arbilla added, “That is the great threat, even if it seems frivolous. The other [the assassinations] is transitory” by comparison to state control of the media. To the list of countries where the press is not free he added Argentina, Cuba and Nicaragua.

The Interamerican Press Society’s next meeting will be in Lima, Peru in October of 2011.

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