15 March 2024

Journalists intimidated, harassed and under constant attack

The week began with the kidnapping of Mexican journalist Jaime Barrera in the state of Jalisco on Monday, March 11. After two days in captivity, the journalist was released and is now safe and sound. According to press reports, the journalist has requested to be taken in by the federal Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists and assured that he will not allow himself to be intimidated.

On the other hand, journalists covering the International Women's Day marches were attacked in several Mexican cities. The reporters were detained, beaten and assaulted with water, bleach and glue.

At the same time, Amnesty International presented a report entitled "Nobody guarantees my safety" in which they conclude that 43% of attacks against Mexican journalists come from public officials. In the last seven years, eight Mexican journalists have been murdered while registered in the Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, according to the report.

In Paraguay, journalistic and media associations expressed concern about a possible "judicialization of the journalistic exercise" in the midst of accusations against former president Mario Abdo Benítez. According to lawyers in the case, media and journalists could be summoned to "account for what can be investigated".

The Todo Noticias team in Argentina suffered threats while covering the city of Rosario, following a series of murders perpetrated by criminal gangs opposed to the provincial government. "They are going to end up like (José Luis) Cabezas," reads one of the messages they received via WhatsApp, referring to the photojournalist murdered in 1997, according to press reports.

The Association of Journalists of Honduras repudiated the attacks against the press by the president of the National Congress, Luis Redondo. The politician accused the media of defaming him after reports against him were published.

In the Dominican Republic, the Círculo de Reporteros Gráficos de Televisión reported that workers are victims of physical aggressions by citizens and police agents.

The NGO Espacio Público reported in February an increase of 70% in violations to freedom of the press in Venezuela. Among the attacks were intimidation, censorship, administrative restrictions, judicial harassment, threats and verbal aggressions.

For its part, the Cuban Institute for Freedom of Expression and Press reported that during February there were 40 violations of freedom of expression throughout the country. Attacks, threats, aggressions, arbitrary detentions, restriction in the digital space and abusive use of state power were documented.

IAPA is a non-profit organization dedicated to defending and promoting freedom of the press and freedom of expression in the Americas. It is comprised of more than 1,300 publications in the Western Hemisphere and is headquartered in Miami, Florida, United States.