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IAPA, UNAM wind up online course with forum on violence, press freedom

(IAPA/IFEX) - Miami, August 13, 2010 - With a roundtable discussion in Mexico City on working as a journalist in the face of the violence unleashed by organized crime, the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) and the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM) today were winding up an online training course in which 125 journalists had been taking part.

IAPA President Alejandro Aguirre, editor of the Miami, Florida, Spanish-language newspaper Diario Las Américas, praised the alliance of the two institutions and expressed pleasure at the 11-week-long online degree course, which he said "has contributed to raising professional standards so that journalists can carry out their work freely, but also safely."

Aguirre added, "There is no doubt that this course has come at the right time, when journalists and media in Mexico have had to put up with the scourge of violence and the deaths and disappearances of colleagues."

The course is ending today with a forum, live and online, looking into the risks to freedom of expression in Mexico. It is to be conducted by Fernando Castañeda Sabido, dean of the UNAM's School of Political and Social Sciences, and will include the participation of Roberto Rock, regional vice chairman for Mexico of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Luis Raúl González Pérez, UNAM general counsel, and Luis Pavón, a Televisa television reporter.

The IAPA-UNAM online course closing today, titled "The Practice of Journalism in the Face of Violence", began on May 3 this year as part of the IAPA's Impunity Project. It featured UNAM lecturers and professors and professional journalists from throughout the Western Hemisphere and had as its objective a review of international experiences regarding violence and news coverage and as a forum for discussion of tools to face risks and adopt more professional standards.

The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 print publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida. The IAPA Impunity Project is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and has the mission of combating violence against journalists and lessening the impunity surrounding the majority of such crimes.

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