By Anny Castro
TEGUCIGALPA – Inter American Press Association, or IAPA, president Jaime Mantilla said in an interview with Efe that organized crime, drug trafficking, authoritarian governments and impunity were the greatest threats to freedom of the press in Latin America.
“Now more than ever, drug trafficking and organized crime are attacking freedom of expression, murdering and threatening journalists,” Mantilla told Efe in Tegucigalpa.
The surge in violence in recent years in some Latin American countries due to the pressure of the drug cartels, according to the IAPA chief, has affected on a daily basis many journalists who work there.
Mantilla headed an IAPA mission that last Wednesday concluded a three-day visit to Honduras, where its members analyzed the situation of press freedom in the country, where President Porfirio Lobo in recent months has headed assorted confrontations with some local media outlets.
Lobo is even promoting a reform of the Telecommunications Law, rejected by media executives and journalists, who feel that the president is attacking press freedom.
At least 74 journalists were murdered in Latin America between 2010 and 2012, according to figures compiled by the International Freedom of Expression Exchange in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Just in Honduras, 21 journalists were murdered between 2010 and 2012, while local human rights defense organizations calculated that 35 people linked to the communications media were killed, Mantilla said. EFE