Panama I


WHEREAS the newspapers El Siglo and La Estrella de Panamá are active members of the Inter American Press Association and important news media in Panama

WHEREAS La Estrella de Panamá with 167 years since its foundation in 1849 is one of the oldest newspapers of the Americas, published successively in Nueva Granada, the Republic of Colombia and the Republic of Panama

WHEREAS on May 5, 2016 the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Treasury Department included in what is called the Clinton List the main shareholder of the newspapers, with the principal consequence of prohibiting U.S. citizens and companies from having relationships with those who are on the said list

WHEREAS although the OFAC immediately issued a "General License" to exempt the newspapers of that limitation and then an extension, the expiration date being January 6, 2017, and the U.S. ambassador in Panama declared that "the newspapers are not involved in money-laundering" and that "the objective of the new license is to offer six more months for them to continue publishing the excellent journalism that characterize La Estrella de Panamá and El Siglo" (Ambassador John Feeley, on Canal Telemetro television, June 3, 2016)

WHEREAS the current situation of the newspapers under what is called the "General License" has signified multiple complications with the financial and banking system, with national and international providers, clients and advertising agencies and, especially, has required reduction in the number of collaborators and journalists, also giving rise to labor stress for those who continue working in the newspapers without their knowing if these can continue publishing

WHEREAS if this uncertainty continues the newspapers get to a situation of forced closure peremptorily

WHEREAS the possible closure of a news media outlet is a serious restriction of freedom of the press and of expression, as well as the Panamanians' right to access to information

WHEREAS while the Inter American Press Association is respectful of the legal investigations conducted with full clarity and transparency what concerns it is the possibility of restricting the newspapers' ability to publish

WHEREAS Principle 1 of the Declaration of Chapultepec establishes "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"


to ask the National Government, particularly the Vice President of the Republic and the Foreign Relations Minister to take the necessary actions to come up with a definitive ending of the situation facing the newspapers La Estrella de Panamá and El Siglo

to seek from the United States Department of State the actions necessary to come up with a definitive ending of this situation in order to safeguard freedom of the press and of expression

to urge the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to look into the present case and let his opinion be known to the international community

to maintain an attitude of alertness in the face of the possibility of closure of the newspapers El Siglo and La Estrella de Panamá.