World Press Freedom Day 2018: Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and the Rule of Law
Quito, May, 3rd, 2018 (SIGNIS-ALC). May 3 is World Press Freedom Day, which demands respect for freedom of expression. According to the President of SIGNIS Argentina, the communicator Isabel Gati, in Argentina, as in many other countries, "the freedom of the press is 'Freedom of the enterprise'". According to her, "the mainstream media has grown over the past two years, and community media are being persecuted and silenced by various strategies."
She also gives the data recorded in the annual report on freedom of expression, produced by the Argentine Journalism Forum (FOPEA, in Spanish), which shows that "in 2017, cases of violations of this right doubled, reaching 132 cases, and that there is no improvement expected for 2018."
Similarly, SIGNIS Brazil's secretary, Sr. Osnilda Lima, explains that, in Brazil, "historically, a part of the press has suffered a lot in the hands of the government, which is why it was necessary to guarantee the rights to information, freedom and journalism in the 1988 Constitution". She adds that in a "democratic country, freedom of the press is a legitimate and essential achievement of undisputed importance".
In Chile, the society prides itself on the fact that there exists in this country "an absolute freedom of the press, let it be written, radio, television or digital. The Ministry of Justice is the only one who can intervene when a crime of defamation or proven slander is reported," says the president of SIGNIS Chile, the communicator Juan Pablo Donoso.
He explains that one can notice many "debates and criticisms very acid and pointed", whether in newspapers, on the radio or on television. Moreover, according to the law of the Republic, any person or institution has the legal right to respond if the insult threatens their honor, prestige or professional ethics. The media - for their part - are obliged by law to retract publicly if they commit a fault against the truth or honor,” he says.
For his part, the president of SIGNIS Ecuador, Angel Fabian Iza, expressed his concern about the situation of freedom of expression in his country, after "recent regrettable events of journalists threatened with death for their silence".
He regrets that the press in Ecuador "is a victim of rhetoric sponsored by populist governments that showed no mercy and accuse journalists of 'corrupt press'". He adds, "Why so much hatred towards a profession that seeks to be a bridge between the state and society? "