31 December 2009
New Year's Message from Inter American Press Association President
The president of the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), Alejandro Aguirre, managing editor of the Miami, Florida, Spanish-language newspaper Diario Las Américas, reviewed what has occurred in the Western Hemisphere with respect to freedom of the press and expression during 2009.
The president of the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), Alejandro Aguirre, managing editor of the Miami, Florida, Spanish-language newspaper Diario Las Américas, reviewed what has occurred in the Western Hemisphere with respect to freedom of the press and expression during 2009. As we approach the dawn of a new year, I would like to thank every journalist and member of the news media for upholding their mission to inform, oversee, investigate, train and provide guidance to their communities. Despite the terrible violence unleashed against them in a year marked by violence to the extreme, these men and women have demonstrated remarkable courage in taking up their arms the tools of social communication to day in and day out pen and disseminate the news. Many of them confront acts of intimidation and violence with the knowledge that their lives are truly endangered and knowing that in 2009 alone 23 journalists were murdered, 11 of them in Mexico, and that many of their colleagues were threatened, injured, kidnapped, or imprisoned. In Cuba 27 journalists continue to languish in jail. While some progress was made toward freedom of expression in our hemisphere, in general the balance was negative. Many of the new press laws enacted were designed to provide greater control over independent news media and over the flow of information in their respective countries. Throughout this period our Association has not remained silent in face of the clear threats that exist in many countries of our hemisphere. In addition to the invaluable support of our members we are also supported by our friends in the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, who assist us with the Impunity Project, and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation who back the Declaration of Chapultepec program, the James McClatchy Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and John P. Scripps Foundation. We have always been grateful to our members and the organizations that support us, but in this year of such financial difficulties, in particular, I would like to express my most sincere gratitude to all those people and institutions that share our vision on freedom of expression and who help us strengthen it in a concrete way. On behalf of our members, our officers and our staff I take this opportunity to revalidate the mission that has guided us for nearly seven decades, reiterating our commitment to continue promoting freedom of the press and freedom of expression in every corner of our hemisphere in this New Year. And for each of you, my best wishes for a New Year of peace and happiness.