MIAMI – The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) paid homage on Saturday to journalists slain in the Americas this year, a particularly ominous period according to the chairman of that organization’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, the Mexican Roberto Rock.
IAPA’s 75th General Assembly, being held until Oct. 7 at the Hotel Biltmore in Coral Gables, Miami, entered Saturday into it second day with a reading of country-by-country reports on the state of press freedom throughout the hemisphere.
The murder of journalists and the impunity of the murderers are the worst possible violations of the right to freedom of expression, as are acts of physical aggression, the jailing and harassment of reporters, censorship, the arbitrary handling of official publicity and the “stigmatization” of journalism in general, Rock told EFE.
Since IAPA held a meeting in Cartagena, Colombia, six months ago, 13 journalists have been killed, seven of them in Mexico, two in Brazil, two in Colombia, one in Haiti and another in Honduras.
Since the previous General Assembly held in Salta, Argentina, in October 2018, 18 journalists have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.
An average of 18 members of the press are murdered every year across the hemisphere, according to statistics provided by IAPA, an organization that includes some 1,300 traditional, digital and audiovisual news media across the Americas.
The session kicked off with the projection of a video with the photos and names of the journalists who have been slain, after which those attending the meeting observed a minute of silence in their memory.
Roberto Rock, director of the digital video “La Silla Rota” (The Broken Chair), told EFE in a statement before the session got underway, that based on what is shown by this year’s reports, the situation has only deteriorated since last year.