Panama II


WHEREAS the Electoral Tribunal ordered an investigation and imposed a fine of $50,000 ont Editora Panamá América (EPASA), which publishes the newspapers Panamá América, Crítica and Día a Día, over a note or extract of a survey that reflected a drop in the popularity of the Panamanian President and his cabinet

WHEREAS EPASA journalist Santiago Fascetto was separated from the rest of the passengers on a flight from the United States and then held in a private room in the

Panama City airport and his work equipment was seized, all that by members of the Security Council

WHEREAS the Inter American Press Association sent a formal note to the Director General of the Panama National Migration Service, Javier Carrillo Silvestri, for him to respond and explain the detention and the seizure carried out on Fascetto, however the IAPA has never received a response to this note

WHEREAS the government has ordered EPASA to pay four unfounded amounts of tax in the last two years of $1,775,096.08, as follows: under Resolution 201-707 for $178,038.83; Resolution 201-708 for $32,053.25; Resolution 201-709 for $1,206,492.00, and Resolution 201-9010 for $358,512.00, plus surcharges, interest and fines not yet set that could turn out to be a multiple of 10 times, which puts in danger banking facilities necessary to maintain its operation and could result in the eventual direct or indirect shutdown of the newspapers if the actions taken turn out to be unfavorable for EPASA

WHEREAS in September this year EPASA received the unexpected visit of officials of IDAAN, a government body that supplies water to the population at the national level who had in their power, to carry out the act, an order to cut off the supply of water to the EPASA installations although the company was up-to-date in its payments; if the action had gone ahead, it being only halted when it was not agreed to sign the court document on the action and there were shown the receipts of payments of the quotas that the order falsely alleged were unpaid, the court action would have resulted in temporary closure of the newspaper and the non-circulation of its three papers, on a least one, and probably more, days.

WHEREAS on October 12 there was taken to the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office without there having been previous summons and decreed the preventive detention without danger of escape, without danger of destruction of evidence and without danger to the integrity of third parties, the president of the Digital Television Company, Ricardo Francolini, the consequence of this action being a limitation of freedom of expression and of information and possible future ones of the shutdown of the television channel, directly or indirectly, by the elimination of banking supports, the loss of advertising amounts and customers, loss of suppliers, reduction of human resources, losses of programming, in addition to labor stress caused to its collaborators due to the uncertainty about their jobs; EPASA shares links of cooperation with this and other media, including the joint contracting of pollsters

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 federal government to cease the campaign of undermining and discrediting carried out against the previously mentioned media and their executives and the journalists that work in them

to call upon the national authorities to show full aptitude and tolerance of the full exercise of freedom of expression, of information and of the press of the above-mentioened news media and their journalists

to call upon the tax and electoral authorities of Panama for them to put an end as soon as possible to the proceedings that they have begun against EPASA, in compliance with the law

to call upon the national authorities for them to put an end as soon as possible to the unnecessary detention of Mr. Francolini, president of the Digital Television Company, in compliance with the law

to urge the government compliance with the National Constitution and international treaties on freedom of expression, of information and of the press regarding the above-mentioned media and their journalists.