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On World Press Freedom Day, APG calls for an end to abuse of journalists

(APG/IFEX) - The following is a 2 May 2008 APG press release:

Declaration of APG on World Press Freedom Day

The Guatemalan Journalists' Association (APG) has remained faithful to its principals since its founding 61 years ago. It has become the most important press organisation in the country, defending the rights of Guatemalans to freedom of opinion and press freedom.

AGP's founders were visionaries and eminent journalists who spared no effort in denouncing the continuous violation of human rights and freedoms. History has placed them on an altar for their patriotic contributions.

These precious values have been upheld with strong conviction by those who have led the APG in recent decades, and by those leading it today, earning the organisation respect and prestige at the national and the international level.

On this important date, 3 May, World Press Freedom Day, as we reaffirm our commitment to the defense of these rights, we recall the martyred journalists who, with courage and self-sacrifice, generously gave their blood in the fulfillment of their professional duties.

We condemn the threats, harassment, physical attacks, and even murders of journalists committed by governments in the recent past. These victims were only attempting to exercise the right to freely inform their fellow citizens. The current APG Board remains on guard to ensure such abuses do not continue.

To be unable to freely fulfill the valuable mission of journalism, without restriction of any kind, is a symptom of unbridled criminality - that of authorities, as well as that of "parallel powers" and organized criminal groups.

The era in which we live is a difficult one, as every day women, men, children and elderly Guatemalans are kidnapped or made victims of extortion or murder. In such desperate circumstances, we demand again that the government promptly and fully ensure the security of the citizens of this country, as it is obliged to do by the Constitution.

We reiterate our commitment to promoting respect for journalism, and defending the rights of Guatemalans.

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