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ARTICLE 19 and partners launch the platform of action for strengthening of freedom of expression

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - 17 August 2009 - Human rights defenders and media professionals from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua, meeting in Guatemala City on July 23 and 24, 2009 for the regional conference "Towards a Joint Action Platform to Strengthen Freedom of Expression" have adopted the first Central-American platform of action on freedom of expression.

The objective of the conference was to identify the common challenges preventing the full exercise of the right to freedom of expression for all people in the region, and to reach an agreement around a set of actions, including collective actions.

The Platform of Action is the first of its kind for Central America. The conference highlighted the profound crisis for freedom of expression in the region, and the difficult challenges confronting human rights defenders and media workers, including violence and impunity.

The conference also demonstrated the hunger for sharing experiences and ideas, and the need for a collective and regional approach and solidarity to the problems confronted by all.

Follow-up actions to the declaration will include collective measures to support local initiatives, the promotion of legal reform in each country concerned, and alerts mechanisms to report and condemn violations of the right of freedom of expression.

Participants included: from El Salvador: Human Rights Institute at the José Simeón Cañas Central American University (IDHUCA), the National Journalists Association of El Salvador (APES), and the Association of Radio Stations and Participatory Radio Programmes (ARPAS); from Guatemala; Centre for Informative Reports on Guatemala (CERIGUA), Civitas Centre (Centro Civitas), Newsroom (Sala de Redacción); from Honduras: Democracy without Frontiers Foundation, Committee for Freedom of Expression (C-Libre); from Mexico: National Centre of Social Communication (CENCOS); and from Nicaragua: Nicaraguan Centre for Human Rights, (CENIDH), Violeta Barrios de Chamorro Foundation and The Communications Research Centre (CINCO).

The conference was sponsored by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

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