28 December 2017

Year End Message - President of the Inter American Press Association

Gustavo Mohme recounts the challenges in 2017 and the expectations of the organization for next year.

Year End Message

Gustavo Mohme, Grupo La República, Lima, Perú

President of the Inter American Press Association

Miami (December 28th, 2017). - "2017 has been full of challenges regarding freedom of expression. We focused on seeking justice in cases of attacks on reporters, including murder. Also, on demanding greater access to public information, working so the ''right to be forgotten'' not be distorted into a purported restriction on the public's right to know, and developing journalistic best practices to confront ''fake'' news and encourage media to maintain the tools necessary to repel cyberattacks.

It was also a year of celebrations. We highlighted investigative journalism of excellence that shed light on corruption public and private; and demonstrated solidarity and public service during the natural catastrophes that devastated our communities and nations.

2018 will be no different, and we aim for significant achievements. The biggest would be a favorable ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights about Nelson Carvajal, the Colombian reporter who was murdered in 1998. That would bring peace and justice to his family and colleagues, and serve as precedent for governments and legal authorities in the Americas regarding instruments and arguments to combat impunity.

The murders of 20 reporters in the Americas this year - 11 in Mexico, four in Honduras, two each in Peru and the Dominican Republic, and one in Guatemala - and the more than 500 in the past three decades, weigh heavily on our shoulders. We will not stop calling upon, and helping, those in power to administer justice. We will persevere with the 27 cases of murder that IAPA submitted to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights. We are confident that justice will be achieved in cases including Gerardo Bedoya of Colombia, Ivan Rocha of Brazil and Alfredo Jiménez Mota of Mexico.

2018 also will find social media, content search engines and other companies working alongside news media to strengthen and encourage quality journalism.

The continual technological disruption and changing habits of news audiences challenge us to be better prepared and ready the tools to sustain the business models of traditional media. We are aware that a free, independent, honest and economically healthy news media always will be the bulwark upon which democracy is constructed, as our guiding principles affirm.

IAPA will continue to seek new ways of defending the principles of good journalism and democracy, and to promote these values by training reporters, and promoting public education and digital literacy.

In that context we are proud to award our 2018 Chapultepec Grand Prize to Newseum, the Washington, D.C.-based institution that serves as inspiration and permanent reminder about the relevance to humanity of freedoms individual and social, including tolerance and respect without regard to race, creed, gender or difference of opinion."

The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida.