Government Advertising

WHEREAS in Argentina there is a lack of adequate regulation of distribution of official advertising, despite the fact that in 2007 the Supreme Court set a legal precedent in ruling against the provincial government of Neuquén, prohibiting it from arbitrarily discriminating in the placement of official advertising in the news media and ordering it to cease manipulating advertising “giving it to or withdrawing it from some media on the basis of discriminatory criteria,” and saying neither may it be used “as an indirect means of affecting freedom of expression” WHEREAS in Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles and in Trinidad Tobago and Guyana official advertising has been used as a political tool to discriminate against news media for their editorial stance WHEREAS in Ecuador the government uses the placement of official advertising to discriminate against news media that operate independent of its official positions WHEREAS in Nicaragua there is discrimination in the placement of official advertising in media with views that are independent of the government party while favoring those outlets that share its views WHEREAS in Paraguay it was reported that the government of President Fernando Lugo has a larger advertising budget than previous administrations but lacks technical criteria for its fair and transparent distribution WHEREAS in Venezuela the discriminatory practice continues of favoring news media supporting government policies and withdrawing official advertising from those critical of them WHEREAS Principle 7 of the Declaration of Chapultepec establishes: “Tariff and exchange policies, licenses for the importation of paper or news-gathering equipment, the assigning of radio and television frequencies and the granting or withdrawal of government advertising may not be used to reward or punish the media or individual journalists” THE IAPA GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLVES to call upon the governments of Argentina, Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Venezuela to cease their discriminatory practices, to produce regulations for the fair distribution of official advertising, so that it may not be used as an instrument of coercion of, or reward for, media and journalists, and to take international standards into account, such as that established in the Organization of American States’ Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression, which holds that “the arbitrary and discriminatory placement of official advertising and government loans … with the intent to put pressure on and punish or reward and provide privileges to social communicators and communications media because of the opinions they express threaten freedom of expression, and must be explicitly prohibited by law” to urge the governments of Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela to cease the practice of using the placement of official advertising in a selective manner as a means to reward or punish news media for their editorial stance to ask the government of Paraguay to apply technical criteria and efficiency of resources for the equitable, fair and transparent distribution of official advertising.