08 March 2024

Censorship and attacks: Dangerous combination for Latin American press

Weekly summary of Press Freedom in the region.
The Argentine president, Javier Milei, once again lashed out against the press during the opening of the congressional sessions. The president accused journalists of being "bribed" and "bought", alleging that reporters would receive money in exchange for a favorable opinion. In addition, through his X account, he directed specific attacks against Martín Rodríguez Yebra of La Nación and Marcelo Bonelli of Clarín.

Milei also announced the closure of the state-owned news agency Télam, founded in 1945. Police fenced off its building to prevent journalists and other staff from entering to work. The agency's web page was also closed.

On the other hand, the Association of Journalists of El Salvador (APES), registered 322 aggressions against the press during the general elections held in February. The organization documented 224 violations in the presidential and legislative elections and 98 in the municipal elections. The National Civil Police, electoral prosecutors and representatives of political parties were identified as the main aggressors.

In Mexico, the Institute for the Protection of Journalists and Human Rights Defenders reported a cyber attack against the newspaper El Debate. In a press release, the organization expressed its solidarity with the newspaper and demanded an official investigation.

In Uruguay, one of the top countries in the Chapultepec Index, journalist Eduardo Preve denounced that he and his sources of information have been subject to investigations by the Ministry of the Interior for publications related to the "Guardian" software, which allows the ministry to intervene conversations, emails and publications in social networks.

The Center for Archives and Access to Public Information (Cainfo) condemned the police spying and assured that this is a case "of extreme gravity because it implies a serious threat to freedom of expression".

In Venezuela, the government removed the German television channel Deutsche Welle (DW) from its programming after they reported on corruption in the regime and its links with organized crime. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro called the media outlet a "Nazi".

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 from the western hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida, United States.