Being a journalist in Latin America is the most dangerous office

The coverage of issues related to corruption and human rights have become some reasons why journalists are killed

Being a journalist in Latin America is the most dangerous office

So far this year, in Latin America the number of murdered journalists has risen to fourteen. This is the result of the violence perpetrated against the exercise of information and freedom of the press, according to the Inter-American Press Association. These crimes, distributed in Central and South Latin American countries, correspond to journalists who carried out investigative work on issues related to organized crime, political corruption in state entities, drug trafficking and the violation of human rights.

Leer en español: Ser periodista en Latinoamérica es el oficio más peligroso

According to the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) of the fourteen journalists killed in the first half of 2018, four belong to Mexico, two are from Brazil, two from Guatemala, one in Colombia, one corresponds to Honduras, one to El Salvador and three to Ecuador. The latter were murdered in Colombia, they were journalists of the newspaper El Comercio, according to the authorities, killed by the dissidence of the demobilized guerrilla group FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), now converted into a political party.

Maybe you could read: No more impunity: Who is the condemned for the murder of Jaime Garzón?

In this panorama, unfavorable and mostly unpunished, Mexico is boosted as the most dangerous country for journalism in the region, says the organization Reporters Without Borders. Between 2000 and 2018, at least 118 journalists have been killed. The most critical year was 2017 when eleven journalists died, one less than in Syria. In addition, 507 attacks against communicators were recorded and eleven were displaced from their territory.

For its part, and after the rise of President Nicolás Maduro to power, in Venezuela, there have been several cases of censorship and suppression of the media, says the IAPA. A clear example was the closure of subscription television channels, such as Caracol Televisión, RCN Televisión and NTN24, all Colombian channels.

In the same way, Caraqueña 92.9 FM and Mágica 91.1 FM stations were closed even though they had been on the air for over thirty years. According to the Instituto Prensa y Sociedad Venezuela from 2013 to 2018, 35 newspapers have stopped circulating, 18 definitively and 16 have temporarily suspended their paper editions.

Unlike these facts, and after many years of rebuke to the journalistic exercise on the part of the different armed actors (legal and illegal), the Colombian press "celebrates" the condemnation pronounced by the Court of Bogotá. The entity sentenced José Miguel Narváez to 30 years in prison, for his intellectual authorship in the murder of journalist and comedian Jaime Garzón, killed by assassins in August 1999.

Situations that may affect the journalistic exercise

In Nicaragua, the growing wave of violence and repression of the government of Daniel Ortega to the citizens and the Nicaraguan media. To Venezuela and the massive migration of its inhabitants, as a result of the difficult situation that the country is going through since Nicolás Maduro took power. To Colombia and the growing wave of killings of social leaders and human rights defenders and, in addition, at the beginning and policies adopted by the new government of Iván Duque.

Latin American Post | Walter Reina Parra

Translated from 'Ser periodista en Latinoamérica es el oficio más peligroso'

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