79th IAPA General Assembly, November 9 - 12, 2023, Mexico City, Mexico


Press freedom was affected in this period within the framework of an electoral process marked by obstacles and judicial limitations against several presidential candidates who were prevented from participating.

The political and social climate is polarized as a result of actions taken by Attorney General María Consuelo Porras of the Public Prosecutor's Office and prosecutor Rafael Curruchiche of the Special Prosecutor's Office against Impunity (FECI) against the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), its magistrates and directors.

FECI also took action against the Movimiento Semilla party for its formative process in 2017, which began when it was confirmed that its candidate, Bernardo Arévalo, would participate in the electoral runoff. On August 20, Arévalo was elected president.

Most of the actions initiated by the Public Prosecutor's Office have been supported by Judge Fredy Orellana, who in 2022 ordered the arrest of journalist José Rubén Zamora Marroquín, former president of the now defunct newspaper elPeriódico. The judge did not allow Zamora to present evidence in his defense, and he was sentenced. An appeals court ordered a retrial against Zamora in October due to inconsistencies. It is expected to take place soon and speedily. Zamora had been sentenced to six years in prison and fined approximately US$38,000 for the crimes of money laundering, racketeering, and influence peddling. Three of his defense attorneys went into exile, four face criminal proceedings, and two are in jail. Zamora's last private defense attorney, Juan Francisco Solórzano Foppa, announced that he would plead guilty to the charges brought by the Public Prosecutor's Office, alleging that he would not receive a fair trial due to irregularities.

Like other judicial proceedings, this case has been declared "in reserve", so the press cannot access the information.

In the last weeks, there were demonstrations and roadblockades to protest against the Public Prosecutor's Office, support the electoral process and President-elect Arévalo, and demand the prosecutors' resignation.

Other important events in this period:

On August 11, two journalists were murdered in the interior of the country. Edin Frangely Alonzo López, 31, and Hugo Rolando Gutiérrez Alonzo, 33, ran the Caballo Blanco publication on Facebook. They were attacked when returning from a live broadcast in the Caballo Blanco, Retalhuleu. There is no progress in the investigation of the crime.

The staff of the Congress of the Republic and union members of the Teachers Union led by Joviel Acevedo attacked journalists from Guatevisión and Prensa Libre to prevent them from entering the room where they were to speak with the president of the legislature, Joviel Acevedo, and his group. The journalists attacked were Andrea Domínguez, Roberto López, Carlos Hernández, Miguel Salay and Verónica Orantes.

On May 4, José Rubén Zamora's cousin, Juan Carlos Marroquín Godoy, pleaded guilty to the charges in the Zamora case, specifically obstruction of prosecution.

On May 31, the assistant prosecutor of the Special Prosecutor's Office against Corruption (FECI), Allan Javier Tánchez Castañeda, demanded in writing from the general manager of elPeriódico reliable information on all publications from July 22, 2022, to the date of closure of the media outlet, of journalists and columnists José Rubén Zamora, Gerson Alande Ortiz, Julia Catalina Corado Flores (former financial manager), Christian Franquel Véliz García, Jerlin Alexander Valdez, Rony Andrés Ríos García, Denis Obdulio Aguilar González, Edgar Eduardo Gutiérrez Girón, former foreign minister and columnist, and Gonzalo Marroquín Godoy, former IAPA president. With the exception of Zamora, all of those above are in exile in different countries.

Various press associations in the country, including the Association of Journalists of Guatemala, filed a writ of amparo before the Constitutional Court to demand that freedom of expression not be violated with laws of lower hierarchy than the Law of Broadcasting of Thought.

Before the general elections of June 25, several contenders pressured media and journalists to avoid reporting on the wasteful spending on advertising on social networks and delivery of food and prizes at political rallies.

The climate of information restriction by officials who do not give interviews or statements to independent media continues.