President of the IAPA warns about democratic deterioration at the annual meeting of CLAEP


Cancun (March 24, 2024) – The president of the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), Roberto Rock, expressed his concern about the weakening of democracy in the region in an environment where "the exercise of rights and freedoms increasingly represents a greater challenge," officially inaugurating the XII meeting of the Latin American Council for the Accreditation of Education in Journalism and Communication (CLAEP) at Anahuac University Cancun, in Mexico, on Tuesday.

Following the inauguration, which included remarks from Father Jesús Quirce Andrés L.C., rector of Anahuac University Cancun; Carlos Lauría, executive director of the IAPA; Juan David Bernal, executive director of CLAEP; and Humberto Tungüí Rodríguez, director of the International School of Communication and Entertainment, students, academics, and journalists signed the Chapultepec and Salta declarations on the importance of press freedom and freedom of expression for democracy and the common good.

Rock, director of the portal La Silla Rota, Mexico, emphasized the invaluable work of CLAEP, an accreditation system that promotes high standards in journalist training, an initiative of the IAPA that originated at a conference in Cantigny, Illinois, in 1995, when media editors and academics recognized the need for excellence in education to consider the changing labor market. Rock indicated that CLAEP, universities, and journalist training are essential for journalistic quality to contribute to democratic strengthening.

"Entrepreneurial Journalism" is the theme of the XII CLAEP meeting, addressing, among other topics, new business models in journalism, innovation, digital media transformation, and the challenge of teaching entrepreneurial journalism. Eleven universities from Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Mexico are participating, out of the twenty-seven universities that make up the accreditation system.

"In these 24 years of existence, CLAEP, an academic program of the IAPA, has established itself as the leading institution in accreditation and guarantor of quality in the teaching of Communication and Journalism in Faculties and Schools of Communication in Latin America and the Caribbean," said Bernal. "With a presence in 8 countries and 27 institutions, our commitment to quality and excellence in teaching grows day by day," he assured.

Lauría, executive director of the IAPA, stated that "at a time when censorship and repression are constant threats, it is crucial to cultivate the resilience of future journalists so that they can face these adversities and defend the fundamental principles of democracy."

Rosental Alves, founder and director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, delivered a keynote address. He anticipated that "we haven't even seen the most radical impacts of the digital revolution that are about to arrive now with the fascinating and at the same time frightening development of artificial intelligence." Alves assured that entrepreneurs have "changed the media ecosystem in Latin America," which he described as "chaotic and beautiful like the jungle."

The first day included several discussion panels. Helue Santillán, Creative Director of "Telokwento"; Daniela Caballero, founder and CEO of "Ahora Entiendo"; and Alejandra Higareda, founder of "Malvestida," young entrepreneurial journalists, shared the success of new business models they are experimenting with in their media outlets.

The organizers expressed that the meeting represents a platform for dialogue, learning, and collaboration among students, academics, and professionals to advance and enrich journalism and communication in Latin America.

CLAEP is dedicated to fostering and promoting excellence in professional journalism education. It originated from the Hemispheric Conference on the Modernization of Journalism Education, organized by the IAPA and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, in Cantigny, Illinois, in 1995. CLAEP approved its training statutes on October 13, 2000, in Santiago, Chile.

Check here for the program and other conference details.

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.