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IAPA MARKS CHAPULTEPEC 15TH ANNIVERSARY, REPORTS WORSENING PRESS FREEDOM CLIMATE FOR THE AMERICAS

As the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) celebrates the 15th anniversary of the Declaration of Chapultepec, it is also lamenting the deteriorating press freedom situation in the Americas.

Wrapping up its four-day mid-year meeting this week, IAPA noted frightening trends across the Americas, including rising anti-press vitriol in government speeches, the increasing use of tactics that cut off advertising revenue from critical publications and more attacks on media houses by vigilante groups, many of which are tacitly supported by governments.

In honour of the anniversary of the Declaration of Chapultepec, and recognising the work is far from over, IAPA is calling on citizens across the Americas to do their part to protect transparency and free expression.

The Declaration was signed on 11 March 1994 in Mexico City and was sponsored by IAPA, the McCormick Foundation and private citizens. It was the first document to define freedom of expression and entrench the right to information as a human right.

"Over the past 15 years it has become a major point of reference for freedom of expression," said Santiago Cantón, executive secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (OAS).

To date, 53 heads of state have signed the document.

Visit IAPA's Chapultepec Project website at : http://tinyurl.com/c5s8cp

Click here for IAPA's biannual report on press freedom in the Americas: http://tinyurl.com/ce54xn

(18 March 2009)

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