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IAPA ANTI-IMPUNITY PROJECT RELEASES THREE REPORTS ON CRIMES AGAINST JOURNALISTS

The murders of journalists in Bolivia and Mexico and efforts by the Brazilian justice system to put an end to impunity in crimes against the press are the subjects of three new reports published by the Inter American Press Association (IAPA).

In recognition of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights' 60th anniversary on 10 December, IAPA launched the three reports of work carried out by Rapid Response Unit (RRU) investigative reporters under the Anti-Impunity Project, funded by the Knight Foundation.

"Summary execution", written by RRU journalist Jorge Elias, graphically describes the brutal beating of Bolivian radio reporter Carlos Quispe Quispe that led to his death two days later in March 2008. It also traces the official investigation of Quispe's case, which was transferred five times in six months from one public prosecutor to another, and shows the fragility of the local justice system. See: http://tinyurl.com/3hb9pu

RRU's María Idalia Gómez says that in Mexico, self-censorship is "the only weapon left to fight fear after a journalist has been murdered." The 9 October murder of Miguel Angel Villagomez Valle, the owner and editor of the newspaper "La Noticias de Michoacán", has led the region's most widely read and trusted paper to no longer cover organised crime. Meanwhile, the victim's family and colleagues fear reprisals. See: http://tinyurl.com/4jcftg

Brazil, "a country of contrasts", manages to punish those guilty of crimes against journalists. RRU's Clarinha Glock examines why there are a higher number of court-ordered convictions in Brazil. In the past eight years, 33 defendants charged in 22 cases of murder of journalists were found guilty and sentenced, far surpassing the number of convictions in similar cases in Colombia and Mexico. See: http://www.impunidad.com/index.php?columnas=9&idioma=us

IAPA is inviting publications throughout the Americas to print the investigations. "By highlighting specific cases and by acting together and shedding light on these issues, we can advance in the battle against the violence that menaces freedom of the press and free speech, and against the impunity that surrounds crimes committed against journalists," IAPA says.

Visit the IAPA Anti-Impunity Project website for more: http://www.impunidad.com/index.php?idioma=us

(17 December 2008)

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