The president of the Inter-American Press Association (SIP/IAPA), Gustavo Mohme said Sunday that there were a total of 29 journalists killed in the Americas in 2018, 23 of which were from Latin American countries.
Mohme, during the 74th general assembly of the SIP in Salta, Argentina, pointed out that 11 of the 29 murdered reporters are from Mexico, 4 Brazilians, 3 Ecuadoreans, 2 Colombians, 2 from Guatemala, 1 from Nicaragua, and 6 from the United States.
The 74th IAPA Assembly was held under the slogan "The future of interactive technology and its impact on social evolution".
According to Mohme, who is also the director of the Peruvian newspaper La Republica, the economic crisis has made the current era difficult for the press. Despite that, the press is showing signs of vitality.
To exemplify that vitality, he cited his country for the investigations into corruption into the Peruvian judicial branch, and Argentina for the discovery of corruption notebooks that exposed various instances of transfers of large sums of cash.
During the conference, Edison Lanza, the special rapporteur for freedom of expression at the Organization for the American States (OAS) warned that the legislative branches of American countries continue to regulate freedom of expression instead of treating it as an absolute right.
"On the subject of protected or unprotected speech of section 8, we can have a more joint vision and say freedom of expression is absolute, without any type of censorship; but the reality is that I have spent four years as rapporteur and, if I look to back, I see in the reports that we do have that. The legislative powers continue to regulate on the issue of freedom, all the time, at all times they are attentive to that,” Lanza said.
Lanza made his comments regarding the eagerness to regulate the press while discussing the concept of protected speech included within the OAS's Inter American Legal Framework on the Right to Freedom of Expression, a systematic analysis of inter-American standards on freedom of expression that includes a review of certain important rulings and laws on the matter.
Peruvian attorney Erick Iriarte, a member of the group of judges and public management experts linked with creative and cultural industries, called for regulatory protection for journalists who use intermedia platforms including YouTube. "They also need protection; the intermedia platform must have certain obligations to them," said Iriarte in his remarks to the group.
The IAPA focused on the situation in Mexico which has witnessed the murder of 11 journalists so far. The report by the IAPA focused on electoral violence, economic crisis, and highlighted uncertainty in the relationship with AMLO’s government.
"The new administration headed by President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who will take office on December 1, has said that it will radically change the relationship with the media. On the one hand, he talked about reducing the amounts of official advertising and on the other, he did not express much clarity on how that relationship should be. There is concern about statements that `we will support the media dedicated to investigative journalism' or` we will organize a prize for the best journalism',” said the report.
"This uncertainty about the press-government relationship is compounded by the economic crisis aggravated by the international price of paper and the reduction in the advertising pattern that makes the sustainability of the newspaper's business model increasingly difficult."
The IAPA, a private non-profit entity focusing on defending and promoting freedom of the press and expression in the Americas, includes editors and publishers of more than 1,300 communications media in the Americas and is based in Miami.