At the close of its 74th General Meeting, in Salta (Argentina), the Inter-American Press Association (SIP) warned about the "devastating" panorama in which journalism moves in America, after four days of discussions about the behavior of Press freedom in the Americas in this Argentine city.
This was included in the document that gathers the conclusions of the meeting of the 1,300 publications of the region, which make up the SIP, whose main task is to defend the freedom of speech and press freedom.
In its final report, the agency warns of the increase in murders of journalists, the insult to them in their professional practice, the growing polarization and new bills that are being carried out to the detriment of the freedom of speech.
"The cycle of threats, attacks and deaths against journalists, far from increasing, seems to be on the rise. So far this year, 30 journalists have been killed in the region, 20 of them since the last meeting in April, perhaps the most lethal semester for the development of journalism in the Americas," said the SIP.
At this point, the document refers to eight Mexican journalists, seven from the United States, two from Brazil, two from Colombia and one from Nicaragua.
"All of them were young professionals who developed tasks of great value to their respective communities, but which were not pleasant for some who began harassing, threatening and assaulting them, until they were physically eliminated," the IAPA document highlights.
For the agency, there is also a noticeable increase in insults to the press and to journalists who "sometimes take the nature of true defamation campaigns". This trend is especially felt in Argentina, Colombia, El Salvador, the United States, Honduras and Peru.
"Particularly serious is this situation when the person who insults or attacks the press is a public authority, which in some cases, like in the United States, can be the president of the republic," said the SIP.
The agency regrets, in this same point, that in countries like Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Peru "the threat gives way to the physical attacks against journalists". "Press professionals have had to endure violent attacks, kidnapping attempts or assaults, often with destruction of their work equipment," it says.
Regarding the growing polarization, for the IAPA "it is certain that the desire to thwart journalism has increased, which is also manifested in numerous ways to prevent access to public information."
The organization warns particularly what is happening in Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, "where the situation of the independent press is disastrous." The limitations range from the lack of paper for printing and electrical energy to the "hostility of the government authorities".
"But even in these conditions, despite all the obstacles, independent media remain thanks to the heroic efforts of their owners, editors and journalists, who do everything possible to keep the population informed," the document highlights.
Finally, the IAPA refers to the new dilemmas faced by current journalism in the face of new information media.
As a result of this reflection, the iMeeting made public the Declaration of Salta on Principles of Freedom of Speech in the Digital Era that expresses the position of the SIP in the digital arena, expanding freedom of speech to digital media.
"In this way, the suppression of information is addressed, invoked as the right to be forgotten, stating that it violates the citizen's right to be informed and to preserve the collective memory. Until now there was no clear or unique position, but the Declaration of Salta should guide the debate on freedom of speech in the digital ecosystem", reads the SIP.