IAPA asks Dominican government to investigate spying case


Miami (May 4, 2013) - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) called on the government of the Dominican Republic to investigate the electronic espionage against journalist Nuria Piera, to determine responsibilities, and to punish these actions to discourage the use of "illegal digital surveillance mechanisms."

In its recent Mid-Year meeting, the IAPA criticized in its conclusions that the governments of El Salvador and Mexico used the Pegasus software. Also, in a resolution, IAPA condemned the Cuban and Venezuelan regimes for monitoring journalists and blocking their communications and those of national and foreign Internet news sites.

This Wednesday, May 3, World Press Freedom Day, a report by Amnesty International's Security Lab explains that a phone belonging to investigative journalist and television host Nuria Piera has infected with Pegasus spyware on three occasions between 2020 and 2021.

Piera, a member of the IAPA Board of Directors, corroborated that, at the time of the spying, she was investigating corruption allegations related to the government of Danilo Medina, cases that resulted in judicial proceedings.

"This illegal practice violates the privacy to which everyone has a right, in addition to affecting the journalist's trust in his or her news sources," said Michael Greenspon, IAPA president and Global Head, Licensing and Print Innovation at The New York Times.

Carlos Jornet, chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information and editor of La Voz del Interior, Argentina, said, "Spying through Pegasus is a problem that we have been denouncing for years in several countries of the region. It is important that governments refrain from using these mechanisms, investigate and punish those responsible for discouraging these illegal and illegitimate practices."

According to Amnesty International, the Dominican Republic is the third country in the Americas, after Mexico and El Salvador, where Pegasus has been used against journalists, activists, and human rights defenders.

The IAPA's Salta Declaration on Freedom of Expression in the Digital Ecosystem states in Article 7: "Authorities must not use digital surveillance mechanisms to violate the liberties and privacy of citizens, except in cases where a legitimate goal is being pursued following the provisions of human rights conventions. Widespread surveillance is unacceptable under any circumstances."

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.