18 August 2023

IAPA Bot: Two Murders in Guatemala, a Raid in the U.S., and Death Threats in Bolivia


The murder of two community journalists in southern Guatemala shook journalism this week. The Central American country is one of the most violent and with the highest impunity rate, in addition to the persecution of the independent press.

In the United States, the police raid and seizure of the Marion County Record newspaper's equipment in Kansas triggered alarm among press freedom advocates. A court order called for the return of the equipment.

On the other hand, the Bolivian National Press Association condemned a brutal attack against journalist Daniela Valdez while covering a newspaper in Sucre. Valdez suffered beatings, attempted strangulation, death threats, and theft of her wedding ring and work equipment.

In Brazil, former president Jair Bolsonaro was sentenced to pay a fine of 50,000 Brazilian reais (US$10,000) for perpetrating 175 aggressions against the media. And in El Salvador, the national association of Journalists accused President Nayib Bukele of "criminalizing" three journalists by linking them to the case of the former National Security advisor arrested a week ago.

In Colombia, the Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP) urged the government of Gustavo Petro to provide the necessary guarantees so that the media can "investigate, publish and express their opinion." The claim occurred after Noticias Caracol branded the Colombian president as a false report about his presidential campaign.

In Honduras, the organization Reportar Sin Miedo condemned the smear campaigns and threats against its journalists by the owners of the Employment and Economic Development Zones (ZEDE) after they published a report on the origin of their assets.

Several media in Venezuela have been impersonated through WhatsApp calls seeking to hack readers' accounts. Among those affected are the portals of Correo del Caroní, Radio Fé y Alegría, Qué Pasa en Venezuela, Venezuela al Minuto, Noticia y Punto, and Red Digital, as reported by the Instituto Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS).

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.