04 May 2023

IAPA Bot: Attacks, threats, and judicial harassment during the week of World Press Freedom Day

Several countries turned red on SIP Bot's real-time monitoring map.

In a week marked by World Press Freedom Day celebrations, the enemies of this constitutional right did not let up. Several countries turned red on SIP Bot's real-time monitoring map.

In Mexico, the Diario de Yucatán was verbally attacked and questioned by officials for its publications on President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's health. In addition, a Yucatecan policewoman was removed from her post and sentenced to more than two years in prison for assaulting a journalist.

In Celaya, another Mexican reporter was brutally beaten by several police officers. As a result, the authorities suspended six police officers. In the state of Mexico, several members of the National Guard assaulted reporters covering a traffic accident.

In Paraguay, bodyguards of former president Horacio Cartes also assaulted journalists at a polling station.

José Rubén Zamora, owner and editor of the newspaper elPeriódico of Guatemala, at the beginning of his controversial trial, stated: "I am a political prisoner, and I have been treated as such." He also said: "I am going to be sentenced."

In the Dominican Republic, journalist Nuria Piera became the first confirmed case of spying with the Pegasus program in that country. Journalists denounced that spying on them has a long tradition in the country.

The Peruvian Congress is discussing a law to stiffen penalties for the crime of defamation, which different press organizations have denounced.

The Association of Journalists of El Salvador (APES) registered 54 cases of attacks on press freedom during the first months of 2023. In neighboring Costa Rica, the president of Rodrigo Chaves questioned a report of Reporters Without Borders that was unfavorable to him.

From the Twitter account of the president of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, the most influential tweet was published, which generated 6,105 interactions. The tweet's text is: "Today, Alfonso Espinosa de los Monteros receives the decoration of the National Order of Merit in the rank of Commander for his ethical and professional career for 56 years. #DonAlfonso knows, and I share with him, the principle that freedom of expression is one of the pillars...".

IAPA Bot is an artificial intelligence tool of the Inter American Press Association that monitors press freedom violations in real time. It tracks information published in the media, Google News, Twitter, and from a selection of IAPA notes and denunciations. In addition, it contains a heat map that allows observing the press freedom climate in each country, a button to make complaints, and a menu that highlights the statements of government leaders, citizens' conversations, and relevant events.

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 in the Western Hemisphere, based in Miami, Florida, United States.