03 May 2024

Murder in Mexico and continued attacks on journalists and media cast a shadow over May 3

The murder of Mexican journalist Roberto Carlos Figueroa Bustos shook journalism this week, which is World Press Freedom Day. The director of the Facebook page Acá en El Show was kidnapped on April 26 and, although the family paid the ransom demanded, his body was found lifeless in a car.

The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) "urged the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation, prosecute those responsible and put an end to the cycle of impunity that characterizes crimes against reporters in Mexico".

On the occasion of May 3, a UNESCO report revealed that, worldwide, more than 70 percent of journalists specializing in environmental issues suffer attacks. Latin America is one of the regions with the highest number of such attacks.

"It is something absolutely serious that we have to emphasize as much as possible to say that there is a serious problem that has to be faced," said Guilherme Canela, head of UNESCO's section of Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists, in an interview with Voice of America.

For its part, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) urged Argentine President Javier Milei to cease attacks on press freedom and allow journalists to work without restrictions.

"Stigmatizing journalism leads to the erosion of press credibility, and verbal attacks against journalists create a dangerous precedent that can incite forms of physical violence, online harassment, threats, arrests and even murder," said Cristina Zahar, CPJ's Latin America Program Coordinator.

The annual report of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) indicated that "press freedom is deteriorating in Ecuador and Argentina due to the internal situation", in the midst of a global increase of political pressures against journalism.

In Cuba, the regime of Miguel Díaz-Canel detained journalist José Luis Tan Estrada for six days and, according to independent media, his detention was linked to publications in social networks. His freedom, demanded by the Cuban Observatory for Human Rights, PEN International and Amnesty International, was restored on May 1.

In Haiti, alleged gang members vandalized the facilities of the newspaper Le Nouvelliste, located in Port-au-Prince. The National Association of Haitian Media (ANMH) condemned the act.

The Guatemalan Chamber of Journalism repudiated the aggressions of a deputy against journalists Abel Reyna and Roderico Valdez, correspondents of Revista Coyuntura. The act was perpetrated after a meeting with President Bernardo Arevalo and local mayors.

On the other hand, on Monday, April 29, the criminal case against eight journalists of the Guatemalan newspaper elPeriódico was closed. The IAPA filed an amicus curiae brief in defense of the newspaper's founder, José Rubén Zamora, who has been unjustly detained since 2022.

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