The IAPA on alert for attacks by President Milei against journalists and media


Miami (July 8, 2024) - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) expresses its concern over the repeated and increasing verbal attacks by Argentine President Javier Milei against journalists, media outlets, and organizations in the sector that express critical views of his government's policies. The international organization calls on the president to show tolerance towards criticism and dissent, thus complying with international standards on freedom of expression.

As reported in its mid-year report on Argentina published last April, the IAPA noted that President Milei's X account has become a platform for repeated disparagement and accusations against journalists. "Through it, [Milei] launches suspicions of corruption against the press," IAPA stated in this recent report.

Since taking office as president in December 2023, the Argentine head of state has frequently attacked journalists from various media outlets who criticize the government, labeling them as "liars", "slanderers", "corrupt", "fools," and "paid hacks", among other derogatory terms, according to press reports.

National and international press freedom organizations have expressed their concerns in this regard. On Journalist Day on June 7th, the Argentine Association of Journalistic Entities (ADEPA) issued a statement warning: "Reporting facts is not insulting. Criticizing is not attacking. Questioning is not assaulting. Discussing is not harassing. Reporting and expressing opinions do not make anyone an enemy or a mercenary."

In recent weeks, unjustified delays and denials have also been reported for journalists expressing critical views to access the Presidential headquarters and other government offices.

IAPA President Roberto Rock stated, "Stigmatization is a form of advocacy for violence that, in addition to inciting violent acts, deepens levels of intolerance, divisions, and polarization in society." Rock, director of Mexico's digital portal La Silla Rota, urged President Milei's government not to obstruct the work of the press, facilitate free access to public information, and ensure that debate on matters of public interest "is conducted with respect, tolerance, and within the framework of the principles of freedom of expression enshrined in Argentina's national Constitution and in the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights."

Rock also reiterated the invitation to the president to participate in the IAPA General Assembly to be held in the Argentine city of Córdoba in October and to endorse the declarations of Chapultepec and Salta, approved by the entity in 1994 and 2018, respectively, containing principles on freedom of expression in traditional media and the digital era.

Carlos Jornet, president of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, further noted that "the methodology of discrediting and expressing contempt for journalistic work only serves to inflame public discourse." Jornet, editor of the Argentine newspaper La Voz del Interior, argued that stigmatization, "one of the main instruments used to delegitimize and undermine the credibility of media and journalists, also has the potential to encourage harassment, threats, and acts of violence."

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.