Miami (December 3, 2021) - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) and International IDEA urged U.S. President Joe Biden to discuss press freedom and freedom of expression in the Summit for Democracy to be held virtually next week among leaders of 110 countries.
In a letter sent to President Biden, Jorge Canahuati, IAPA president, and Kevin Casas Zamora, secretary-general of International IDEA (International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance), expressed their satisfaction with the initiative of the Summit, to be held December 9-10. In many countries, freedom of the press and expression is under siege by "anti-democratic regimes and totalitarian forces."
Canahuati and Casas Zamora stressed that freedom of speech and press freedoms are essential values of democracy, as contained in the U.S. First Amendment, in almost all constitutions of American countries and IAPA documents: the Declaration of Salta of Principles on Freedom of Expression in the Digital Era, signed in 2018, and the 1994 Declaration of Chapultepec.
Government, civil society, and private sector leaders from 110 nations will participate in the Summit. Biden's goal is to set a schedule for democratic renewal and examine the most significant threats facing democracies.
EFE news agency reported that the U.S. invited numerous allied governments it considers democracies, such as Spain, France, Israel, Pakistan, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Peru, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Countries not invited are Bolivia, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. According to the U.S. government, these countries suffer from "some challenges" in democratic matters.
The IAPA highlights that several countries not invited from Latin America obtained the lowest scores in the Chapultepec Index 2021. This IAPA ranking measures the performance of freedom of expression and press freedom in the legal, judicial, and violent contexts in each country, in addition to analyzing the impact these variables have on democracy.
IAPA is a non-profit organization dedicated to defending and promoting freedom of the press and expression in the Americas. It comprises more than 1,300 publications from the western hemisphere; and is based in Miami, Florida, United States.
International IDEA is a global intergovernmental body whose mandate is to promote and defend democracy and free and fair elections globally. It comprises 34 Member States. Its headquarters are in Stockholm, Sweden.