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IAPA presents its conclusions on the state of press freedom in the Americas

(IAPA/IFEX) - Miami, November 9, 2010 – The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today wound up in Merida, in the Mexican state of Yucatan, its 66th General Assembly, during which it looked into the state of freedom of the press in the Western Hemisphere and declared 2011 as "Freedom of Expression Year".

The following are the full CONCLUSIONS of the IAPA General Assembly held November 5 – 9:

Threats, intimidation and deadly attacks by organized crime that have claimed the lives of 14 journalists during the first half of 2010 have dominated the agenda at the 66th General Assembly of the Inter American Press Association, in Merida, Mexico. More than 575 IAPA members from throughout the hemisphere also engaged in intense debate focused on Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Argentina, where governments are employing a range of anti-democratic measures to repress the independent media and place the flow of news and information in the hands of state-controlled entities.

Mexican President Felipe Calderón delivered the keynote address at Monday's session, forcefully declaring his administration's unwavering commitment to defeating the drug cartels. Seven of the journalists killed since the beginning of the year died in cartel-related violence in Mexico, while five others were assassinated in Honduras, where cartels have sought safe haven while smuggling drugs from South America to the United States. Two other journalists were killed in Brazil.

Calderón's speech reiterated positive steps his administration has taken in response to IAPA's long-standing efforts to convince the Mexican government to bring attacks against journalists under federal jurisdiction. These include the establishment of a special prosecutor for attacks against the media, although IAPA's final country report on Mexico notes that a climate of impunity continues to exist in Mexico, and to date, the government has shown it lacks the political will to investigate and prosecute those who attack reporters. The IAPA has called on Calderón to take the necessary steps to end this climate of impunity and to work to end official repression of the media that is widespread in many Mexican states and municipalities.

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