Discriminatory Use of Official Advertising

WHEREAS the governments of Argentina, some English-speaking countries of the Caribbean, Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama have been the object of complaints over the practice of using official advertising as a means to put pressure on news media, ignoring all kinds of technical criteria and those for efficiency in the use of public resources WHEREAS in Mexico the local and state governments are no strangers to this wrong and as a natural habit use discrimination in official advertising in reprisals against media whose critical editorial stance annoys them WHEREAS arbitrary discriminatory placement of official advertising is a misappropriation of public funds and an abuse of political power WHEREAS the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression has warned that the arbitrary and discriminatory placement of official advertising and the granting of official credits to punish or reward news media threatens freedom of expression and should be prohibited by law WHEREAS in a large number of cases these discriminatory practices are the response to complaints and criticisms by the press of actions of the governments and there are media that are accomplices in these practices WHEREAS Principle 6 of the Declaration of Chapultepec states “The media and journalists should neither be discriminated against nor favored because of what they write or say” THE IAPA MIDYEAR MEETING RESOLVES to denounce discriminatory placement of official advertising and other administrative methods used to reward or punish news media and to influence their editorial stances and news policies to persist in denouncing this kind of corruption which not only lowers the prestige of media and journalists but amounts to an attack on freedom of the press and of expression to deplore, reject, and condemn this conduct by which governments use taxpayers’ money in an illegal and illegitimate way to violate freedom of expression in all of its manifestations, and at the same time, appropriate citizens’ money to enrich themselves, their families, and their political supporters and friends to call on governments throughout the Americas to eradicate these kinds of unlawful practices, and at the same time draft legislative bills for official advertising to be placed with full transparency based on technical criteria and those of equality and efficient handling of public resources.