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Report exposes the roots of the culture of impunity in the Americas

National and international officials make comments on the first regional impunity report by the IFEX-ALC
National and international officials make comments on the first regional impunity report by the IFEX-ALC

CERIGUA

(IFEX-ALC) - Aggression and crimes against journalists are a reality in the region, and this reality has many faces and leaves many traces. The complexity of this issue is portrayed and discussed in the 2012 Annual Report on Impunity: Faces and Traces of Freedom of Expression in Latin America and the Caribbean. This report will be presented in Geneva with the purpose of promoting, through the UN Human Rights system, States' reflections on the issue. Our hope is that the contribution of this report results in actions to eradicate the existing culture of impunity.

In Honduras, Mexico and Guatemala impunity and insecurity, as well as censorship and self-censorship due to fear of direct attacks or reprisals, are deeply rooted. Colombia is going through a serious crisis regarding access to justice, despite State attempts to protect the victims and repair serious damages. In Brazil, State efforts fail to reach beyond large cities to the outlying regions, where journalists are more vulnerable to attacks and even death.

In Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela impunity is related to excessive censorship, a product of restrictive regulations, apathy, and even permissive State collusion in violations of freedom of expression. Peru sadly has one of the largest numbers of assaults and murders of journalists in South America in the last three decades, and law enforcement does not guarantee a reversal of that trend. And in Argentina, impunity is characterized by repeated low intensity violent episodes against journalists while they are covering stories.

In the Caribbean, journalists, who are the main critics of the corruption and lack of governance present in their countries, are physically attacked and openly threatened by their governments, who even use the legal system against them.

The 16 partners of IFEX-ALC - civil society organizations that defend freedom of information and expression in Latin America and the Caribbean - have reported on the culture of impunity in Latin America from January 2010 to September 2012. In this period, 74 journalists have been killed - in only eight of these cases the persons responsible have been prosecuted. Four hundred and thirty-one journalists have received death threats and physical attacks; these have been perpetrated at least 878 times. In addition, 120 journalists have been tried in court because of their publications. This scenario is even more alarming bearing in mind that the validity of a democratic regime is questionable if freedom of expression is at stake.

The report issued by IFEX-ALC depicts the social, judicial, and political contexts which create a landscape of violence and impunity against journalists. Furthermore, the report presents a human face of impunity by portraying landmark cases from each country.

IFEX is a global network of organizations committed to the defense and promotion of the right to freedom of expression. IFEX-ALC is the IFEX regional alliance in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Download the executive summary of the regional report:
Executive Summary - March 2013 - English .pdf (7308 KB)

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