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Noticeable deterioration in freedom of press in Americas — report

October 22, 2014, 8:42 UTC+3 WASHINGTON WASHINGTON October, 22. /TASS

The US government of President Barack Obama is continuing to prohibit officials from talking to the press

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© AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

WASHINGTON, October 22. /TASS/. The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) on Tuesday issued the Conclusions of its 70th General Assembly following its review of the state of press freedom in the Americas in the last six months. The IAPA held its meeting in the Chilean capital Santiago October 17-21.

“Freedom of the press and of expression in the hemisphere underwent a marked deterioration in the last six months due to a significant increase in direct and indirect censorship and physical attacks on journalists,” the IAPA said.

“Violence carried out by organized crime, drug traffic hitmen and police-style groups on the orders of several governments of the region left a balance of 11 journalists murdered - three in Honduras, three in Paraguay, two in Mexico, one in El Salvador, one in Colombia and one in Peru.

“Journalists in almost all the countries of the region suffered physical attacks, particularly in Venezuela where police forces and police-style groups on the orders of the government left a balance of several journalists injured. Physical attacks on journalists were also recorded during coverage of various election processes in Bolivia, Brazil and Peru, and street protests in the American city of Ferguson and in So Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“Censorship of the media during electoral processes was evident in Brazil, where the judicial branch of government accepted 138 requests that media withdraw content, and in Bolivia where the opposition saw political propaganda limited to 30 days before the elections."

The lack of transparency and access to public information continues to be an obstacle to the free practice of journalism in Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru and Dominican Republic, the IAPA said, accusing also Cuba, Chile and Colombia.

“The US government of President Barack Obama is continuing to prohibit officials from talking to the press. In the United States and Canada defeated were legislative reforms aimed at limiting exceptions on the part of these governments to continue restricting public information for reasons always attributed to national security.

Perhaps the most positive news this semester has been the enactment of the Law on Access to Public Information and Transparency in Paraguay , which is expected to encourage other countries in the region that still do not, the IAPA said.

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