IAPA: Latin America press freedom is under attack

AP News
Posted: Mar 09, 2013 11:40 PM

PUEBLA, Mexico (AP) — Attacks on press freedom have intensified in Mexico, Central America, Brazil, Argentina and Ecuador, the Inter-America Press Association said Saturday.

Assassinations and assaults on journalists continue in Mexico, Honduras and Brazil, while the governments of Ecuador and Argentina have put legal and economic constraints on media, especially those that don't report the government line, according to the group's country-by-country security reports.

The nonprofit press group, which is meeting through Monday in Puebla, said the worst situation is in Mexico, where 127 journalists have been attacked the last 12 years.

IAPA said such incidents have continued under new President Enrique Pena Nieto, who canceled an appearance at the group's conference.

Vice President Armando Castilla detailed attacks over the last six months, including the disappearance of a journalist in San Luis Potosi and two killings, one just last week in the Mexican border town of Ojinaga. The newspapers Diario de Juarez and Siglo de Torreon have also come under attack in recent days.

The most anticipated country report came from Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez, the first time that the island's report was given by a Cuban journalist.

Cuban journalists and activists walk "a red line between liberty and jail," said Sanchez, a dissident who writes the blog Generation Y.

"Activists and journalist are too often picked up by plain-clothes men. After a few hours they're released in shock, still under threat" she said, adding there is no record of the arrests, giving those detained no basis for complaints.

But Sanchez said that despite constraints by the government, Cubans have found new ways to protest and register their opinions, and more independent journalists are using Internet social media despite little access to such portals in country.