Uruguay II

Resolution of the 62nd General Assembly Mexico City, Mexico September 29 – October 3, 2006 WHEREAS on June 27 President Tabaré Vázquez publicly named nine media outlets (the dailies El País and El Observador and the weekly Búsqueda—all three of them IAPA members—as well as the radio stations Carve, Sarandi, El Espectador and Montecarlo and the private television stations Saeta TV Canal 10 and Montecarlo Televisión Canal 4), identifying these media outlets as “political actors” that are part of the “opposition” to his administration WHEREAS the president’s naming of a list of media outlets was interpreted by opposition political parties and the vast majority of media outlets and journalists as an attempt from the upper echelons of power to undermine the authority and credibility of these media outlets in the eyes of the public WHEREAS the “strained climate” for press freedom and journalism in Uruguay, as reported by the IAPA at its March meeting in Quito, has now become one of harassment against some of the media outlets named by the president WHEREAS highly troubling incidents have begun to occur, the most serious of which is an official investigation by the Uruguayan Children’s Institute (INAU), a government agency that decided to look into an anonymous complaint lodged against the editor in chief of Búsqueda one day after the newspaper published an item that annoyed authorities at the agency; the complaint alleged that the reporter and his wife had abused their six-year-old child, and government psychologists are seeking to interview the child WHEREAS this appears to be a new way of coercing, intimidating, and pressuring journalists—attacking them from the government with anonymous complaints involving their families—and represents a new and very dangerous threat to journalism and press freedom in Uruguay WHEREAS Principle 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec states: “Freedom of expression and of the press are severely limited by murder, terrorism, kidnapping, intimidation, the unjust imprisonment of journalists, the destruction of facilities, violence of any kind and impunity for perpetrators. Such acts must be investigated promptly and punished harshly” THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE IAPA RESOLVES: to express its deep concern over the course of events in Uruguay regarding the harassment, in both word and deed, of several media outlets and journalists considered by the administration of President Tabaré Vázquez to be part of the “opposition” to call on the executive branch of Uruguay to immediately put an end to such undue pressures, especially where these pressures, as discussed in the fifth “whereas” clause above, are by any measure a violation of the freedom and rights of the people to remain on alert due to the highly troubling turn of events concerning the behavior of the Uruguayan administration toward media outlets that do not support it.