Argentina II

WHEREAS the blockades recently suffered by the newspapers Clarín, La Nación, Olé, La Voz del Interior and Día a Día – which resulted in delays in and prevention of distribution of these newspapers – amount to an anti-constitutional and criminal act that violates the fundamental rights of a democratic system, such as the free circulation of ideas and the right to information; WHEREAS no reason, whatever its nature, justifies committing such a violation of the said freedoms and constitutional rights; WHEREAS the lack of action by the authorities in response to the blockades raised concern, in that they did not act despite the existence of court rulings that required them to prevent these developments and ensure the circulation of the publications; WHEREAS this and other hostilities against the press have intensified and continue being repeated systematically in a climate of intolerance and violations on the part of the federal government and the political groups closest to it; WHEREAS journalists and media have been the victims of recent violent threats by a labor union group allied to the government not to publish information about its leaders, a serious act of intimidation that is unprecedented since the restoration of democracy; WHEREAS several reporters and editors have complained of being the target of a campaign to discredit them and defame them publicly on the part of government and pro-government media that go about libeling and stigmatizing them for the sole fact of having published their opinions; WHEREAS other members of the press have complained of being dogged by intelligence services and besieged by other government agencies that imposed on them fiscal and administrative requirements as a reprisal for having expressed opinions contrary to those of the official discourse; WHEREAS journalists continue to be the object of verbal abuses by federal government officials, who additionally have obstructed and impede free access to sources of public; WHEREAS harassment persists on the part of the government against the company Papel Prensa, whose majority shareholders are the newspapers La Nación and Clarín; WHEREAS the government continues to make use of the state-owned news media as outlets for official propaganda and explicit support for the government in an improper manner; WHEREAS principle 1 of the Declaration of Chapultepec states that “no people or society can be free without freedom of expression and of the press; the exercise of this freedom is not something authorities grant, it is an inalienable right of the people”; THE IAPA MIDYEAER MEETING RESOLVES: to call on the authorities to comply with their duties and obligations to prevent future obstacles and setbacks to the free circulation of newspapers; to urge observance of all issued court rulings that impede this kind of protest at the doors of the printing plants; to urge the nation’s most senior authorities to fulfill their obligation to guarantee the free practice of journalism, without harassment or threat of reprisals that journalists and media may come to receive for their investigations or opinions that they disseminate publicly.