26 May 2023

IAPA Bot: Shadows and some bright spots for press freedom this week

Some good news for the press amidst a recurring panorama of violence and repression.

The shooting of a veteran journalist in Mexico and Costa Rica's Constitutional Court ruling against President Rodrigo Chaves for insulting journalists marked a sharp contrast for exercising free expression in the Americas this week.

Several press organizations condemned the murder of Marco Aurelio Ramírez in the Mexican State of Puebla, and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced the start of investigations into the case.

On the other hand, the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) applauded as a "promising precedent" a ruling of the Costa Rican Constitutional Court which curbs in that country the tendency to stigmatize journalists from the spheres of political power. Moreover, IAPA considered that the measure could positively affect other countries where presidents often attack the press with insults and disqualifications.

IAPA Bot also warned about the imminent approval in Cuba of a law that seeks to regulate the news media, and that ratifies that only viable media outlets have links with the State, as stated in other official provisions and the Constitution.

On the positive side, the "Gag Law" being discussed in the Peruvian parliament suffered a setback due to the lack of votes for its approval. However, the press unions pointed out that the risk persists since the ruling party's bench has not yet filed the bill.

Also, in Bolivia, a new fact-checking initiative called "Repartiendo Verdades" (Sharing Truths) was launched to fight against hate speech and polarization. Bolivia Verifica carries it out with the support of Proyecto Desconfío from Argentina.

At the same time, journalist José Rubén Zamora denounced irregularities in his trial for the alleged crime of money laundering in Guatemala. He said he was denied his right to present exculpatory evidence.

In Nicaragua, press organizations insisted to the regime of Daniel Ortega the immediate release of journalist Víctor Ticay, who has been detained for almost two months on charges of "treason" and cybercrimes.

In Venezuela, two journalists were victims of aggression and intimidation in the State of Monagas while covering a conflict between neighbors.

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.