27 October 2023

IAPA Bot: Attacks on the Press Proliferate During Elections


Miami (October 27, 2023) Aggressions and limitations against the press have marred several electoral processes in Latin America, and this week was no exception, according to a report by the artificial intelligence monitoring tool SIP Bot.

In Colombia, the Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP) warned that a decree regulating press coverage of the October regional elections "is incompatible with constitutional parameters on freedom of expression and affects the right to inform and be informed."

In this electoral context, FLIP also pointed out the death threats received by the journalist from the Tolima Oscar Mauricio Rodríguez department via WhatsApp.

The Red Rompe Miedo Guatemala (RRMG), comprised of several civil society organizations, documented 18 attacks against the press and 28 journalists during the second round of the general elections held in August in Guatemala.

In Venezuela, the National Union of Press Workers (SNTP) reported that "militants of an opposition political party" tried to intimidate journalists covering the primary elections. Some people demanded that the journalists leave, while others photographed them.

In Mexico, one of the most risky countries for journalists in a pre-election atmosphere ahead of next June's presidential elections, six media outlets reported cyber attacks and deleting their Facebook posts. Two other Mexican journalists were attacked while covering a taxi driver's demonstration.

Several Latin American journalists suffered death threats, harassment, cyber-attacks, and harassment this week.

In Paraguay, radio journalist Vicente Godoy sought asylum in another country because of death threats for his investigative reporting. His colleague, Higinio Ruiz, a correspondent for ABC Color, was threatened during coverage of the arrest of one of the country's most wanted criminals.

Sports journalist Ramiro Camacho in Bolivia reported that he was threatened and harassed after questioning the management of the national football federation.

In Panama, two journalists covering a march against the mining contract were shot with buckshot and tear-gassed by riot police. The National College of Journalists issued a statement expressing concern for the safety of journalists and photographers.

In Nicaragua, journalist Guillermo Miranda, a columnist for the daily La Prensa, has been reported missing.

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.