Argentina II

WHEREAS in the last six months journalists and news media have been the target of escalating hostility, attacks and intimidation coming from official and pro-government bodies and sectors, which seriously violates the principle of freedom of expression in Argentina WHEREAS this escalating virulence included elements and forms unseen before in this Argentine government’s troubled relationship with the press WHEREAS these included the wiretapping of reporters´ and editors’ telephones and e-mails, mistreatment of journalists at press conferences, physical attacks on newspaper and news agency premises as well as the homes of media executives, distribution of leaflets and a costly campaign of defamation including professionally produced posters in the streets WHEREAS there were acts of intimidation by government entities, such as the unusual action by 200 inspectors from the Federal Public Revenue Administration who entered the building of the newspaper Clarín and at the same time went to the homes of the newspaper’s executives, trustees and attorneys WHEREAS there has been a recent denunciation of the extent of an official plan to take over and/or nationalize the Papel Prensa newsprint production plant, against a background of intimidation and threats by officials aimed at members of the company’s board of directors. WHEREAS there is an attempt to alter newspapers’ and magazines’ distribution systems through a legislative bill that seeks to restrict the publications´ commercial choices and methods, threatening their future circulation, which will be harmed by a recent presidential decree that would change the relationship of publishing companies with their distribution systems WHEREAS recently the Truckers´ Union has set up large blockades that prevented the circulation of newspapers and magazines in Buenos Aires for several hours WHEREAS there has recently been a renewed blockade by the Truck Drivers Union that for several hours over several days prevented the distribution of newspapers and magazines in Buenos Aires WHEREAS criminal charges continue to be used by public officials as means of putting pressure on editors and reporters, such as the lawsuits brought by an official of the State Intelligence Department against La Nación editors and Clarín reporters WHEREAS arbitrary placement of official advertising continued as an indirect means of applying editorial pressure, while at the same there has been a notable increase in public funds being used to this end WHEREAS Article 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec says, “Freedom of expression and of the press are severely limited by murder, terrorism, kidnapping, pressure, 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 IAPA GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLVES to express its concern at the virulence noted in the many actions by the Argentine government or its supporters against journalists, media executives and publishing companies whose aim is to intimidate and interrupt the normal execution of the work of the press to urge the appropriate authorities to investigate these actions and that a halt be put to them in the future to urge the Argentine government to act to ensure the unfettered practice of journalism within a framework of democracy and peaceful coexistence.