Digital Harassment

Midyear Meeting 2018
Medellin, Colombia
April, 13-15

WHEREAS, national press reports have - for several years, denounced government regulations on Internet and social networks, as well as attacks on press freedom against journalists and media coming from BotCenters and cyber-militants

WHEREAS, out of the 11 journalists killed in the Americas this semester, five - four from Mexico and one from Brazil, worked in digital media

WHEREAS, in Argentina, public debate is contaminated by multiple disinformation maneuvers and defamatory actions, usually anonymous and carried out via social networks

WHEREAS, in Brazil, politicians and self-proclaimed "non-partisan" movements use social networks to preach hatred and violence against media and journalists

WHEREAS, in Colombia, there have been several attacks against journalists carried out by officials or ex-officials using Twitter accounts

WHEREAS, in Cuba, the government blocks national and foreign websites (including IAPA), as well as access to news services via email, spies on independent journalists' browsing and telephone data, hacks into personal accounts on social networks to spread false messages, and disseminates smear campaigns on the Internet

WHEREAS, in El Salvador, false news and insults against the media and journalists proliferate via the social network accounts of officials and groups linked to state security and intelligence, and the 2015 cyber-attacks against La Prensa Gráfica and El Diario de Hoy have gone unpunished with the acquittal of five defendants.

WHEREAS, in the United States of America, President Donald Trump continues his verbal attacks - via his Twitter account, in which he denounces the media and journalists as "false", "dishonest" and "enemies of the people"

WHEREAS, in Venezuela, the government maintains its policy against the free exercise of journalism and - backed by specialists, blocks websites and digital platforms and generates cyber-attacks against independent news portals

WHEREAS, in Nicaragua, a web page and a Facebook account called "Nicaleaks" – backed by the government, are used to harass and injure government opponents. Another Facebook account - Policy 505, is used to injure authorities and the powers of the State and to denounce acts of corruption

WHEREAS, in Ecuador, digital media suffered computer attacks, the personal accounts of journalists were temporarily blocked, and the use of fake Twitter accounts to threaten journalists increased

WHEREAS, in Guatemala, there have been attacks on journalists via social networks, government NetCenters - with hundreds of non-existent accounts, and also through the use of "Influencers" hired specially for this purpose

WHEREAS, in Honduras, there have been reports of systematic hate campaigns against the media and journalists – carried out via social networks and Internet portals, with State agencies pointed out as accountable

WHEREAS, there is a trend in several countries of the region - among them Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica and Nicaragua, to promote a bill to regulate Internet and social networks with the apparent purpose of guaranteeing technological security and protecting cyberspace and private data

WHEREAS, in Paraguay, the Chamber of Deputies rejected a bill to regulate Internet content on the grounds that it contradicts the Constitution and freedom of the press

WHEREAS, principles 4 and 6 of the Chapultepec Declaration state respectively that, "violence of any kind and impunity for aggressors severely restrict freedom of speech and of the press" and that, "the media and journalists should not be discriminated against nor favored on the basis of what they write or say."


Condemn the different types of attacks and harassment suffered by journalists and media on digital platforms, which emulate the repressive and intimidating actions also practiced against traditional media

Urge authorities to emphasize the investigation and punishment of those responsible for acts of violence - including murder and harassment, against journalists in cyberspace

Demand that heads of state, officials and political personalities desist from using their social network accounts to denigrate and attack journalists and the media

Demand that Internet companies control accounts that are anonymously used to attack, insult and discredit citizens in general, and journalists in particular.