Miami (November 8, 2018) - The Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) described as "censorship" and "disproportionate measure" the temporary suspension of CNN correspondent Jim Acosta's accreditation to the White House, following a press conference yesterday in the wake of the U.S. midterm elections.
The White House justified Acosta's suspension on the grounds that he disrespectfully treated a female intern when he tried to take away her microphone, following a specific request from President Donald Trump, who was vexed by Acosta's questions about immigration and investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 elections. CNN denounced the suspension as yet another act of retaliation on the part of the President against the network and other media.
IAPA President María Elvira Domínguez said that the suspension of Acosta is an act of censorship and contrary to press freedom, which denotes a "disproportionate measure" on the part of the White House for what happened at the press conference.
"We are concerned that when faced with uncomfortable questions, these types of measures become the norm and are implemented against more journalists," said Domínguez, director of the Colombian daily El País de Cali.
Roberto Rock - president of the IAPA's Freedom of the Press and Information Committee and director of the Mexican website La Silla Rota, added that the climate of polarization and natural tension experienced during and after an electoral campaign should not be an excuse to diminish the importance of freedom of the press or the uncomfortable questions that should prevail in an open and transparent system of government.
Rock recalled that restricting credentials or retaliating against the work of journalists violates principles of freedom of expression contained in the Chapultepec Declaration and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression.
The report on the United States presented at the IAPA General Assembly held in mid-October in Salta, Argentina, highlighted the increase in "Trump's unprecedented verbal attacks on the media."
The IAPA is a non-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and freedom of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 publications from the Western Hemisphere and is headquartered in Miami, Florida, United States.