San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Journalists decry violence at press association conference in Spain

MADRID – Journalists this week decried increasing attacks on reporters that threaten the free press in the Americas.

Eight journalists have been killed during the past six months in Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Venezuela. The press also is suffering from increased verbal attacks intended to discredit them, and governments´ withdrawing advertising from media that are critical, according to reports at the 63rd meeting of the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) attended by 500 delegates.

Singled out for abusing press freedoms was Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, whose government uses direct and indirect forms of pressure against the news media by encouraging attacks against journalist, bringing court cases against journalists and using government advertising as a way to reward or punish news organizations.

IAPA passed a resolution urging the group´s president to send a special mission to Nicaragua to investigate the freedom of expression there.

On a positive note, however, several countries have approved greater freedom of information laws.

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