MIAMI, Florida (May 16, 2017)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today welcomed 16 universities in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru, approved for the first time as members of the organization.
The universities admitted as associate members by the IAPA Board of Directors have been accredited by CLAEP, the Latin American Accreditation in Journalism and Communication Education Council, for several years. The admission was approved by the IAPA Executive Committee during the organization's General Assembly in October 2016 in Mexico.
The 16 universities are: Universidad Católica Argentina, Argentina; Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción, Chile; Universidad Autónoma de Bucaramanga (UNAB), Universidad Autónoma de Occidente, Universidad de La Sabana, Universidad del Norte, Universidad Externado de Colombia, Universidad Ponitificia Bolivariana and Universidad Santiago de Cali, Colombia; Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja and Universidad de Los Hemisferios, Ecuador; Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey, Universidad Anáhuac Mayaba and Universidad Anáhuca México Norte, Mexico; Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (UPC) and Universidad San Martín de Porres, Peru.
Tony Pederson, CLAEP president and professor at Meadows School of Arts of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, regarded it as "very relevant" for higher education institutions to participate actively as members of the IAPA. Pederson, who was IAPA president in 1999-2000, explained that "this enables us to comply with our objective of educating future journalists, raising the importance of freedom of expression and of the press in the universities."
For her part CLAEP Executive Director Susana Mitchell, in charge of the Communication and Media Laboratory of the School of Social Science of Universidad Católica Argentina university, declared, "With the incorporation of the CLEAP universities as members of the IAPA there is established a new relationship with the accredited bodies in which they will be able to access the same benefits as other members of the IAPA, such as the network of professionals, taking part in missions, seminars and other activities of the organization."
The IAPA's idea for the creation of CLAEP came about in 1995 at the Hemisphere Conference on the Modernization of the Teaching of Journalism held in Cantigny, Illinois, then funded by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, where there was raised the need for schools of journalism and communication to be in alignment with the professional field regarding the academic preparation of the professionals and journalists and the needs of the sector. Five years later the CLAEP was born (in 2000), as a tool of certification of the educational quality of the universities that voluntarily request it.
For several years now the IAPA has been carrying out joint activities with the CLAEP universities that cover questions of press freedom and crimes against journalists, among others. On May 3 this year an IAPA delegation took part in Lima, Peru, in a forum on World Press Freedom Day held at Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas university.
IAPA representatives were also present in mid-March at the 7th Meeting of CLAEP Accredited Programs held at Universidad Anáhuac México Norte university. In 2011 22 universities (some of them belonging to CLAEP) from 15 Latin American countries conducted research and set recommendations concerning public policies in order to combat impunity which they presented at a hemisphere conference in Puebla, Mexico.
The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida.