Miami (October 21, 2011).—Use of official advertising to reward or punish news media and government takeovers of media continue in several parts of the Americas to be powerful weapons used to hinder the free flow of information, the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) concluded on winding up its 67th General Assembly held recently in Lima, Peru.
In Argentina, Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Venezuela and some countries in the Caribbean, such as Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados, the authorities seek to manipulate information and opinions disseminated by the press by using placement of official advertising to reward or punish, said the report adopted by the IAPA on Tuesday.
The IAPA further said that governments have constructed a parallel network of state-owned and government-supporting media that mount campaigns to discredit the independent press.
In Ecuador the government has become the owner of a large number of news media outlets. The same is occurring in Argentina, Venezuela and Nicaragua, where the numbers of government-run news media are expanding without limit. In the latter country in addition to several radio stations, Web sites and five television channels there are plans to set up a second UHF television channel, TV 47.
The government in Venezuela has purchased or set up news media while keeping more than 30 radio stations and privately-owned television channels shut down.
Details of the country-by-country reports are posted on the following sites: Argentina http://bit.ly/nunXkD, Ecuador http://bit.ly/nButr9, Guatemala http://bit.ly/ojDU2Q, Nicaragua http://bit.ly/piNoiP, Panama http://bit.ly/pVqlwB, Venezuela http://bit.ly/oKbYd6, and Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados http://bit.ly/nkucaa.
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 print publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida. For more information please go to http://www.sipiapa.org.