Socialisme og “kampen mod narko” truer ytringsfriheden i Latinamerika

Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa/Inter American Press Association (SIP-IAPA) har ved det nyligt afholdte halvårsmøde måtte konstatere, at presse- og ytringsfriheden i store dele af Latinamerika er under voldsomt pres.

SIP-IAPA er en non-profit organisation der repræsenterer mere end 1300 medievirksomheder i “Americas”, og har til formål at forsvare ytrings- og pressefriheden, eller som det selv definerer sin mission;

  • To protect the interests of the press in the Americas.
  • To protect the interests of the press in the Americas.
  • To defend press freedom wherever it comes under threat in the Americas.
  • To protect the interests of the press in the Americas.
  • To defend the dignity, the rights, and the responsibilities of journalism.
  • To encourage higher standards of professionalism and business conduct.
  • To foster the exchange of ideas and information as a way of supporting the technical and professional development of the press.
  • To promote broader awareness and further the exchange of information among the peoples of the Americas, in order to support the basic principles of a free society and individual liberty.

En oversigt over SIP-IAPA’s medlemmer finder man her.

Den halvårlige evaluering af udviklingen i ytrings- og pressefriheden viser tydeligt, at denne primært trues af to forhold:

1. Socialisme.

2. Den globale narkotikapolitik.

Værst står det til med den statslige undertrykkelse i Cuba, der ikke har haft en fri og uafhængig presse siden Castro kom til magten i 1959. Før 1959 havde Cuba ellers mere end 20 uafhængige  TV-kanaler, 57 aviser og 160 radiostationer. Men også i andre dele af Latinamerika er ytringsfriheden under stigende pres fra især socialistiske regeringer;

This 2010 Midyear Meeting is being held at a time when in Cuba journalist Guillermo Fariñas, who is staging a hunger strike in demand for the release of 27 independent journalists, among other prisoners of conscience, who are still being held in Castro’s prisons, is on the point of dying after a long period of misery, like that of prisoner of conscience Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who died a few weeks ago after a lengthy hunger strike, while the government of the Castro brothers has for more than a half century remained unscathed in the eyes of the world for its totalitarian governance.

In general there is an increasing tendency to enact and impose legislation and regulations restricting freedom of expression and the right to inform and to be informed, and there is ongoing harassment by governments such as those of Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador, following the example of Venezuela, with dozens of radio stations and on-air and cable television channels being shut down arbitrarily.

At magthaverne prøver at lukke munden på pressen er dog ikke unikt for disse lande. I Brasilien er den ansete avis “O Estado de S.Paulo” i 3/4 år blevet censureret og har været forhindret i at skrive om en korruptionsskandale, der involverer formanden for senatet, tidligere præsident Jose Sarney, der i dag er en af præsident Lulas vigtigste allierede.

Men ytringsfriheden er også truet i andre dele af Latinamerika. I Mexiko er der udbredt selvcensur i medierne af frygt for repressalier fra narkokartellerne, der står bag mordene på talrige journalister de senere år. Og så sent som i sidste uge blev en journalist slået ihjel i det nordlige Colombia af paramilitære grupper med tilknytning til narkotikakartellerne.

Som SIP-IAPA bemærker;

On the very morning that the sessions were beginning the news also arrived of another murder of a journalist in Colombia, in the Córdoba region, an area known to be one where paramilitary groups operate, as was reported during the meeting.

These are tragic events that once again demonstrate the riskiness of doing the job of those who seek to carry out their mission as journalists – that of reporting, investigating and shaping opinion, in a profession that tends to be hounded by those for whom freedom of expression is of no use. Harassment and persecution usually come from two sources – from those currently in power or the criminal element, drug traffickers and guerrillas. In the latter case the harassment tends to be rougher – threats, intimidation and murder. The governments on the other hand employ more varied and subtle weapons if they still care about keeping up appearances.

In the last six months 13 journalists have been murdered in doing their job, and numerous attacks and threats were reported that have been denounced by journalists. In Mexico seven newsmen were murdered, one in Brazil, three in Honduras and now two in Colombia.

Det tragiske er naturligvis at mens venstrefløjen – også herhjemme – ofte bakker op bag regimer der ønsker at indskrænke ytringsfriheden og begrænse demokratiet i regionen, støtter højrefløjen – også herhjemme – en global narkotika politik, der truer ytrings- og pressefriheden i flere af de lande, hvor man ellers har oplevet en positiv ægte demokratisk udvikling.