78th General Assembly

October 27 – 30, 2022

Madrid, Spain


During this period there were no events affecting the level of freedom of the press in the country. There are no legal restrictions affecting the right of citizens to information or limiting the activity of the media or restricting the free exercise of journalistic activity.

The exception is a 2017 law that provides for the criminalization of journalists - who may go to prison for reporting. The IAPA raised its concern on the grounds that the law breaks with the country's tradition and conspires against the gains achieved at the inter-American and global levels - so that the threat of prison against journalists does not hang in the balance.

Public debate has been affected by political polarization and by posts on social media that have contaminated or complicated the information and discussion spectrum. Certain practices have spread, such as anonymity, lack of legal responsibility, disrespect for privacy and the dissemination of radical and discriminatory messages.

The problem is that freedom of the press is being dragged into this political-partisan and ideological struggle. A serious risk, because it is well-known that these discussions - which include denunciations, accusations, false information and half-truths - not only involve political leaders, but also journalists and organizations associated with the news media.

It is not IAPA's job to judge or rule who is right or wrong. However, freedom of the press cannot be allowed to be used for purposes that do not fit its basic purpose - that is, for citizens to exercise their right to information.

The IAPA received a complaint from the well-known journalist, writer and teacher Alfonso Lessa, who carries out investigative work as a result of which he has received threats through various channels and concrete warnings that could even have caused an automobile accident on August 19. Lessa, an investigative journalist of Canal 4, filed a complaint with the corresponding authorities, but so far there have been no results. This type of physical and direct warnings are not common in the country, which is of particular concern.

This Vice-Presidency has acted on cases that were reported or that became public. In collaboration with other members of the IAPA, such as Danilo Arbilla, concerns and worries were brought to the attention of the Presidency, the Ministry of the Interior (Police), the Attorney General's Office and legislators.