Miami (December 7, 2022) - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) president, Michael Greenspon, will lead an international delegation to Guatemala this week to address complaints about the press freedom situation.
The mission to the Central American country, on December 8 and 9, responds to a mandate of the institution, approved during its General Assembly last October. Greenspon, Global Head, NYT Licensing & Print Innovation, The New York Times Company, New York, United States, will be accompanied by Carlos Jornet, editor of the Argentine newspaper La Voz del Interior and chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, and by Ricardo Trotti, IAPA executive director.
The IAPA delegates will meet with Guatemala's vice-president, Guillermo Castillo Reyes; attorney general and head of the Public Prosecutor's Office, Consuelo Porras; and the executive director of the Presidential Commission for Peace and Human Rights (COPADEH), Ramiro Alejandro Contreras Escobar. Meetings are also scheduled with a magistrate of the Constitutional Court, representatives of the media, human rights, the Church, think tanks, and diplomats.
The IAPA group will attend the December 8 public hearing of José Rubén Zamora, president of elPeriódico, where it will be decided whether he will go on trial. Zamora, an IAPA director, has been imprisoned since July, accused of alleged money laundering, racketeering, and influence peddling.
The IAPA report on press freedom in Guatemala highlighted the "climate of animosity against the press," and a resolution underlined that "journalists and media outlets that do not bow to the interests of the government" are being systematically attacked.
Among other cases, the IAPA mentions those of Zamora and Flora Silva, financial manager of elPeriódico, detained as part of the process against her; Juan Luis Font, of "Con Criterio"; Carlos Choc, of Prensa Comunitaria, who have been victims of judicial harassment. Other complaints received include attacks on the credibility of journalism via social media, threats, risks to practice journalism in the provinces, attempts to pass laws to limit press freedom, and restrictions on information sources.
Previously, IAPA organized an online forum in which Guatemalan media and journalists from all over the country participated.
IAPA requested meetings with the president of the Judiciary and Supreme Court of Justice, Silvia Valdés, but they were not confirmed. In the case of President Alejandro Giammattei, the organization was informed that: "since the agenda of the meeting requested is about a judicial case and under investigation, it is not up to the President to deal with it" about the Zamora case.
A press conference will be held at the end of the mission.
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.