“Freedom of expression is a priority for the government,” Bernardo Arévalo assured IAPA and CPJ

The President of Guatemala, Bernardo Arévalo, said during a meeting that the government “is not going to use tools to judicially torture the press,” ensuring that “freedom of expression remains a priority on the national government’s agenda.” Is”. Held with a delegation from the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (cpj,

The mission of the two international organizations led by IAPA President, Roberto Rock, and Program Director cpjCarlos Martínez de la Serna met for an hour with the recently appointed President of Guatemala in the presidential office of the National Palace of Culture in the country’s capital.

The delegation also included other authorities Yes, including its first vice president, José Roberto Dutriz; Chairman of the Executive Committee, gabriela vivanco, and Executive Director, Carlos Lauria, is in Guatemala this week to evaluate the situation of press freedom in the country after a dark period for local journalism characterized by the systematic criminalization of journalists by the Public Ministry and a sector of justice.

“President Arévalo’s decision to allow a meeting of two international organizations, whose main mission is the defense of freedom of expression, less than two weeks after taking office, is a clear indication of what his government does to protect journalism and How much importance does it give to publicity? About human rights,” Rock said.

political persecution

“The meeting was very productive and Arewalo “They expressed their commitment to changing the dynamics of recent years, which include judicial harassment against journalists, stigmatization and persistent harassment of critical voices, and concealment of information in the absence of the rule of law.”

The mission included a visit to ElPeriodico’s founder and president José Rubén Zamora, who has been imprisoned in the Mariscal Zavala military prison since July 2022, in apparent retaliation for his journalistic investigation into corruption. For his critical informative work.

Arevalo shed light on the matter Zamora This is “symbolic” of the political persecution the journalist faced for his complaints and he said that, although his government does not have the power to release him, he hopes to be able to continue his process at the next hearing. Alternative solutions will be provided. Under arrest. Home.

Arévalo’s government decided to lift sanctions on Zamora and the Interior Minister, Francisco Jiménez, visited him in prison the day after taking office. Zamora described at the mission the severe violations and methods of torture, both mental and physical, that he faced during his long periods of imprisonment.

“There is no legal justification for him to spend another minute in jail,” Martínez de la Serna said. cpj, “First of all, Zamora should never have gone to prison, but rather he should have faced his absurd charge Freedom, “It is too late, Zamora should be released to be with his family,” he said.

last October Yes Expressed satisfaction at the decision of the Court of Second Appeal of guatemala To vacate Zamora’s six-year prison sentence and order a new trial, which is scheduled to begin on February 5.

CPJ urges authorities guatemalan That they respect Zamora’s right to a fair trial in a new trial. As a result of political and economic pressures, Elperiodico ceased operations on May 15, 2023.

Rapporteur on freedom of expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has requested an on-site visit to monitor the precautionary measures put in place in Zamora IACHR,

at the invitation of Yes In signing the declarations of Chapultepec and Salta, the President promised to analyze them in more depth with his legal team to confirm that they are aligned with the country’s legal framework, and indicated that an appropriate period He would see no problem in signing them within. Time.

during a conversation with Yes And CPJ, Arévalo also highlighted the importance of leaving behind the blocking and hiding of information that defined the previous administration in order to foster a system with broader and more transparent access for the benefit of democracy.

He also stressed that his government would “dust down” the protection mechanisms for journalists and human rights defenders that had become inactive during the Jimmy Morales government.

He also said it is necessary to guarantee that journalists carry out their informational work without fear of reprisals, especially in the interior of the country where there are no minimum security guarantees for the press.

Yes is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and promoting freedom of the press and expression in the United States. It is composed of over 1,300 publications in the Western Hemisphere and is headquartered in Miami, Florida, United States.

CPJ is an independent, non-profit organization that works to protect press freedom around the world.

(tags to translate) Bernardo Arévalo

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