02 June 2023

IAPA Bot: Closure of Costa Rican media sets off alarm bells

Grupo Extra announced that it will close the operations of its newspaper, television and radio station due to the lack of advertising, the economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and the persistent lack of economic recovery in Costa Rica.
In Guatemala, the Public Prosecutor's Office requested a 40-year prison sentence for José Rubén Zamora, founder of the newspaper elPeriódico. The IAPA criticized the lack of independence of the Public Prosecutor's Office and accused the government of Alejandro Giammattei of being ruthless against the press. Several organizations asked the Human Rights Ombudsman's Office (PDH) to investigate the accusations of the Public Prosecutor's Office against eight journalists and columnists of the newspaper, among them former IAPA president Gonzalo Marroquín. The Public Prosecutor's Office accuses them of expressing opinions on the case and, therefore, of obstructing the work of justice.
In North America, two U.S. Park Police officers used excessive force against two Australian journalists covering a demonstration on the murder of George Floyd. In Brazil, several journalists were assaulted by the bodyguards of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro after a press conference.
The National Association of Journalists of Bolivia (ANPB) supported journalist Junior Arias who left the country due to the harassment and threats he experienced while conducting a journalistic investigation on Banco Fassil.
In Mexico, just a week after the murder of journalist Marco Aurelio Ramírez, another journalist was the victim of an attack. The home of Pedro Alonso Benítez, in Puebla, was the target of multiple gunshots. The reporter was unharmed.
The Russian embassy in Bogotá described radio station W Radio as "extremist" and "inciting terrorism" for a report published on the Russian political model. The statement generated a strong rejection by the government, congressmen and journalists.
Also in Colombia, journalist Camila Zuluaga denounced persecution and intimidation by followers of President Gustavo Petro, who stated on his Twitter account that he "does not attack journalists".

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.