25 August 2023

IAPA Bot: Political Leaders Increasingly Stigmatize Media and Journalists


Stigmatization against media and journalists continues to increase in the political discourse in Latin America. According to the IAPA Bot's weekly report, aggressions and insults in several countries continue.

In Argentina, journalists' organizations condemned the repeated attacks by presidential candidate Javier Milei against the media. The party leader, La Libertad Avanza, called journalists "liars" and "dirty operators".

In Colombia, after Noticias Caracol revealed that a drug trafficker would have backed the campaign of current president Gustavo Petro, messages against the media outlet were spread on different platforms with hashtags such as #CaracolMiente, #SemanaMiente, #ElColombianoMiente, #RCNMiente and #ElTiempoMiente.

Also, the new Communications advisor to the Colombian presidency went on a rant against some media outlets. "Cover-up journalism, trash journalism (...) Then they get upset because they call them microphone terrorists," the official wrote in X.

Alejandro Soto, president of the Peruvian Congress, reacted against the press in the face of allegations of irregularities and undue payments. "They think they could bring me down with biased and slanderous information," said Soto. In addition, the Peruvian Press Council demanded that the attacks and threats suffered by journalists for their investigation and supervision of public officials be investigated.

In Ecuador, amid the electoral process, the Ombudsman's Office demanded the government strengthen the protection of journalists due to the threats and aggressions suffered by communicators. President Guillermo Lasso signed the regulation of the Media Law, which extends specific protection measures to journalists.

In Paraguay, prosecutors asked the newspaper ABC Color for information on journalists of its staff who published statements of two senators, in what a newspaper lawyer considered "a clear intention of persecution."

On the other hand, in Nicaragua, journalist Víctor Ticay was sentenced to eight years in prison for covering a Catholic procession. The journalist was called a "traitor to the homeland" and was charged with "propagation of false news" and "conspiracy to undermine national integrity."

Mexican journalist José Francisco León Álvarez, a reporter for Televisa's NMAS, was physically attacked and threatened by a civilian police officer in Monterrey. The incident occurred while he was covering an eviction.

And, in Canada, the country that best ranks in the Chapultepec Index, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau harshly criticized Facebook for blocking news on its platform during the emergency caused by the wildfires in the country. Meta blocked Canadian news media in retaliation for the new law that forces platforms to pay for the use of content.

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.