05 January 2024

IAPA Bot: alarming statistics in 2023 and a threat-filled start to 2024

The press was the victim of an unprecedented succession of attacks in 2023. The statistics are alarming. Arbitrary imprisonment of journalists has become a common practice in many countries: Reporters Without Borders' annual report noted that 779 journalists worldwide were imprisoned for their reporting during the year.

Peru recorded a total of 352 assaults on journalists, the highest number of the century, significantly surpassing the 303 cases recorded in 2022, according to a report by the National Association of Journalists of Peru (ANP). According to a report by Fundamedios, in Ecuador there were 262 aggressions against freedom of expression and nine journalists went into exile.

This week, an unknown person attacked the headquarters of El Periódico de Valledupar, in Colombia, on Christmas Eve. Damage was reported on the roof of the facilities, as well as cuts in electricity cables and surveillance cameras. The journalists of the media, known for revealing corruption cases, had already suffered previous threats.

Also in Colombia, nine radio journalists threatened by FARC dissidents received precautionary measures from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

In the Mexican city of Parral, Chihuahua state, the State Human Rights Commission received two new complaints from journalists, in addition to the four journalists who are still under protection measures for threats while carrying out their work.

In the Dominican Republic, journalist Leonardo Suero was shot in his car while leaving his home, according to press reports. "This is a sign of someone sending me a message," said the victim.

The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) condemned the spying on Peruvian journalists César Romero and Juan Carlos Tafur ordered by the authority of the Public Prosecutor's Office with the intention of criminalizing the press, according to reports published in local media.

In Mexico, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador once again attacked a group of journalists critical of his government during his usual press conference, known as "la mañanera". The president said that the journalists, among them Ciro Gómez Leyva, Carlos Loret de Mola and Joaquín López Dóriga, had a lot of power in the television stations and that "they are the ones who receive more money, earn more and are also the ones who most discredit the noble profession of journalism".

For his part, the mayor of Taxco, Mexico, blamed the press for generating violence after reporting on the disappearance of 12 people in a context where insecurity prevails and called the journalists "pseudo journalists". The organization Artículo 19 condemned the incident.

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.