MERIDA, Mexico – Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Mexican President Felipe Calderón addressed the delegates at the 66th General Assembly of the Inter- American Press Association (IAPA), which concluded Tuesday in Mérida, Mexico. Both presidents emphasized the threat posed by organized crime to freedom of the press, to society and to the state. And both stressed the need for countries in the region, particularly in Central America, to address the problem of organized crime as quickly as possible.
In the last six months, 14 journalists have been killed in Latin America, seven of them in Mexico, five in Honduras and two in Brazil. Calderón announced that Mexico has formed a Committee to Protect Journalists as a result of the current situation in that country, concerning the safety of journalists.
One of the resolutions approved by IAPA during the General Assembly calls on the Judicial Affairs Committee of Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly to reject a proposed right-to-reply law that would extend the right-to-reply to include opinion pieces and possibly advertising. The resolution states that IAPA “manifests its concern to the Legislative Assembly and to the government of Costa Rica and protests this intended violation of freedom of expression and of the press.”
At the conclusion of the meeting, IAPA declared 2011 to be the Year of Freedom of Expression, and it will be holding events throughout the coming year to emphasize importance of liberty of expression.