2011: The Year of Freedom of Expression

WHEREAS the increasing of obstacles and threats against freedom of expression, even in countries that enjoy democratic processes, has created a general climate of tension in the practice of journalism; and WHEREAS the worsening of violence against journalists has cost the valuable lives of an alarming number of communicators, even in countries where this type of crime had been scarce in the past; and WHEREAS intolerant and authoritarian governments do not accept criticism nor contrary positions, and are advancing plans to create legal scaffolding of their own design that will permit their points of view to prevail, and attack journalists and the media in an obvious attempt to monopolize and suppress society’s right to information; and WHEREAS those same governments persist in their intentions to manipulate the placement of official advertising in order to award or punish media, thus creating a climate of ideological confrontation, which is the petri dish for the generation of constant stratagems against the press and journalism; and WHEREAS the lack of a democratic spirit in elected governments prevails above ideological differences, making them even more intolerant of a free and independent press, which they consider an obstacle for prolonging their mandates; and WHEREAS the ten principles of the Declaration of Chapultepec clearly establish that there may be no free individuals or societies without freedom of expression and the press, the exercise of which is an inalienable right and not a concession from authorities; murder, terrorism, abduction, pressures, intimidation, unjust imprisonment of journalists, destruction of media materials, and violence and impunity of the aggressors severely limit freedom of expression; the media and journalists must not be the object of discrimination or favors because of what they write or say; no media outlet or journalist may be sanctioned for disseminating the truth or formulating criticisms or denunciations against public power. THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE IAPA RESOLVES to reiterate vigorously that these freedoms constitute citizens’ rights within a representative democracy and it behooves their governments to safeguard and guarantee them; to intensify the pursuit of activities in the promotion of freedom of the press and protection of journalists under constant attacks from their enemies of different stripes, through missions, forums, seminars, training programs, etc.; to call on governments in open confrontation with the press to respect constitutional rights and commitments and international treaties concerning universal respect of freedom of expression and the press; to appeal to the responsibility of all journalists in not vacillating and in redoubling their efforts in favor of preservation of freedom of the press, aware that in these crucial times through which our hemisphere is passing, communicators must prevent the waning of this freedom to the detriment of the people; to declare 2011 as “The Year of Freedom of Expression.”