WHEREAS, since the General Assembly of October 2021, there has been a dangerous increase in attacks against journalists in the Americas, including journalists being imprisoned, harassed, threatened, forced into exile and facing judicial harassment, all in a context of stigmatizing discourse that is increasingly widespread in the region - which shows the face of intolerance to criticism and puts at great risk the free exercise of press freedom
WHEREAS, in Nicaragua Juan Lorenzo Holmann - general manager of La Prensa - and the directors of the newspaper, Cristiana Chamorro and Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, and the journalists Miguel Mora, Miguel Mendoza and Jaime Arellano were convicted - all were tried without due process by a justice system that is manipulated and subjected to political power that fabricates crimes in order to imprison government critics
WHEREAS, in Cuba, independent journalists Lázaro Yuri Valle Roca, director of the digital blog and YouTube channel Delibera, was sentenced - in a trial fraught with irregularities - to six years in prison for the alleged crimes of resistance and enemy propaganda; and Jorge Bello Domínguez, member of the Cuban Network of Independent Journalists, to 15 years - for contempt of court, among other crimes - and both were arrested after the citizen protests of July 11, 2021
WHEREAS, in Cuba, independent journalists Esteban Rodríguez and Héctor Luis Valdés were forced into exile; a dozen have been banned from leaving the country, and several abroad are prevented from entering the island; while in Nicaragua 75 journalists and media owners have been forced to leave the country between June 2021 and March of this year
WHEREAS, during this period, aggressions, acts of violence and threats against journalists were reported in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, the United States, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela
WHEREAS, judicial harassment actions were reported in Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panamá, Paraguay and Peru
WHEREAS, stigmatization and discrediting of journalists and the media in public statements and social networks, by presidents, authorities, officials and politicians, continues to be a dangerous practice that encourages violence; and has been persistently observed this semester in Argentina, Aruba, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela
WHEREAS, Principle 4 of the Chapultepec Declaration establishes that: "Murder, terrorism, kidnapping, coercion, intimidation, physical destruction of the media, violence of any kind, and impunity for perpetrators severely restrict freedom of expression and of the press. These actions must be promptly investigated and severely punished.".
THE IAPA MID-YEAR MEETING RESOLVES
Demand the release of Cuban journalists Lázaro Yuri Valle and Jorge Bello Domínguez, unjustly and unlawfully imprisoned, and of the Nicaraguan journalists sentenced after a travesty of justice and without due process, Miguel Mora and Jaime Arellano, sentenced to 13 years in prison; Miguel Mendoza, nine, and the directors of La Prensa, Cristiana Chamorro, eight; Pedro Joaquín Chamorro and Juan Lorenzo Holmann, regional vice president of the IAPA, nine years each
Demand an end to police and judicial persecution of independent journalists in Cuba and Nicaragua - and to the practice of their governments of forcing them into exile
Urge the adoption of a public discourse that contributes to prevent violence against journalists and to create a favorable environment to guarantee the free practice of journalism and freedom of expression
Reiterate that stigmatization often incites followers to utter hate messages, insults and threats against journalists and critics - which can lead to physical violence; and urge presidents, authorities, officials and politicians to suspend all stigmatizing practices and discourse against media outlets and reporters
To express the IAPA's deep solidarity with journalists and media in the Americas who, despite the pressures, continue to struggle to practice their profession in freedom - without repression or reprisals.