The freedom of the press hasn’t yet reached its wholeness in Latin America, but it survives against the pressures, interferences and, in some cases, severe impediments exerted against itself by the governments and organized crime groups that seek to hide their lawlessness.
If it hasn’t been completely extinguished up to this point – as is the case in certain countries already – it’s largely because of the constant and tenacious struggle that the Inter-American Press Society has waged in our defense, bringing together more than 1,400 printed and audiovisual media which serve as a magnificent shield.
The unity of these media has been vital to denounce, year after year, during 75 general assemblies, the threats that are looming over the freedom of the press in this continent and to proceed to fight for our respect in all possible levels, enforcing the rules and conventions of universal human rights through responsibly denouncing the aggressors.
This fight goes beyond a systematic promotion of the essential values of a free and independent press, at the hemispheric level, up to multiple initiatives for the protection of the personal lives and professional practices of multimediatic journalists.
Countless missions have been accomplished directly in those places where the dangers are greatest, directly denouncing the governments and organized crime groups and revealing the hidden truths to the world, to inspire the solidarity of believers in democracy.
Thanks to these efforts, the IAPA has been able to promote amendments or the simple voiding of the excessive laws that censor and restrict the freedom of the press to the point they drown the finances of the media, while also avoiding any potential case of impunity regarding the murders of journalists.
Through two Magna Cartas for the freedom of the press, such as the Declaration of Chapultepec and, more recently, the Declaration of Salta about the digital era, the IAPA has established the ethical and legal frameworks that support the free exercise of journalism, and in many cases they’ve succeeded in making Latin American leaders genuinely commit to this observation and respect it.
At the same time, the IAPA has carried out a constant training of journalists and executives who work in their associated media so that they can assume the challenges of the transformations originated from the business model, largely to avoid the closure of newspapers or audiovisual media and strengthen them in their ability to serve the public through the new platforms of global communications.
By holding the 75th General Assembly in Miami, Florida, the IAPA can look back at the fruit of its work since its foundation in 1943, to then, with renewed vigor, take on the challenges of the future, which are as many and crucial as those of the past, keeping alive a freedom that is consubstantial with the democratic regime.
– Translated from Spanish by Randy Rodriguez.