World Association of News Publishers

Resolution on Violence and Impunity in the Americas

Resolution on Violence and Impunity in the Americas

Article ID:


Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ
FIPP – The Worldwide Magazine Media Association
Inter American Press Association, IAPA
International Association of Broadcasting, IAB
International Press Institute, IPI
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, WAN/IFRA
World Press Freedom Committee, WPFC

The Coordinating Committee of Press Freedom Organizations at its meeting held in Santiago, Chile, on July 12, 2012 adopted the following resolution by a unanimous vote of its members present:


WHEREAS violence continues to be the main risk faced by journalists in the Americas, where this year several members of the press have been killed;

WHEREAS the impunity surrounding the majority of crimes against journalists and the lack of guarantees for the safe practice of their profession perpetuate the cycle of violence and generates fear and self-censorship, affecting the activity of the press;

WHEREAS in Mexico steps have been taken to counteract violence, such as the adoption of a constitutional amendment to bring under federal jurisdiction cases of crimes against journalists that exercise their right to freedom of expression and of the press, a norm that is still awaiting the passage of subordinate laws authorizing the amendment’s enforcement;

WHEREAS in Mexico the Law on Protection of People Defending Human Rights and Journalists was also adopted to ensure the safety of these vulnerable groups in the face of increased violence in the country;

WHEREAS in Brazil the Chamber of Deputies held a public hearing regarding a bill for the enactment of Law No. 1078/01, which envisions the participation of the Federal Police in investigations of crimes against journalists where a lack of competence by state and municipal entities has been detected;

WHEREAS despite the existence in Brazil of worrisome situations of violence against the press, first, this country’s delegation to the UNESCO’s International Program for the Development of Communication Inter-Governmental Council rejected the original United Nations Action Plan to improve the safety of journalists and combat the impunity surrounding these crimes worldwide, and second, through alternative channels, the federal government later ratified its position in favor of said plan;

WHEREAS despite the government of Honduras’ public commitment to reverse the adverse climate that the practice of journalism faces, there continues to be threats against journalists and attacks on news media in the country, while the majority of killings of members of the press committed since 2003 continue to be unsolved;

WHEREAS with the intent of promoting that unpunished crimes against journalists in various countries in the Americas be solved, the Inter American Press Association has submitted the results of 29 journalistic investigations to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and there is a noted delay in the processing of these cases;

WHEREAS UNESCO’s 1997 Resolution 29 asks member states 1) to adopt the principle of having no statute of limitations in crimes against a person when those crimes are committed to prevent the exercise of freedom of information and of expression, or when they have as their objective the obstruction of justice; and, 2) to improve laws to make possible the prosecution and conviction of the masterminds in cases of crimes against those exercising the right to freedom of expression;


to urge the authorities of Mexico to move ahead with the enactment of subordinate laws authorizing the enforcement of the constitutional amendment that makes crimes against journalists federal offenses;

to seek of the authorities of Mexico the urgent, rapid, and effective application of mechanisms of protection, with the objective of ensuring the physical safety of journalists under risk;

to call on the Mexican authorities to ensure the effective reinforcement of the Special Prosecutor's Office for Attention of Crimes against Freedom of Expression in Mexico and has the necessary financial and human resources to carry out investigations;

to ask the authorities of Brazil to fast-track the discussion and adoption of Law No. 1078/01 with the aim of reducing impunity and effectively solving crimes against journalists;

to reiterate to governments the urgency of pursuing public policy reforms to combat with greater force acts of violence and the impunity that surround crimes, and to create safety and protection programs for journalists carrying out their work;

to ask the federal government of Brazil to adopt an official and clear position on the United Nations Action Plan to improve the safety of journalists and combat the impunity surrounding these crimes worldwide; and,

to ask the IACHR for greater agility in the processing and follow-up of cases submitted to it regarding the unpunished killings of journalists.


Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2012-08-06 10:40

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