WASHINGTON-The IAB held its 48th General Assembly at NAB’s new headquarters in Washington, May 23-26, with delegations representing 16 countries from the Three Americas.
The IAB marked the event with what it called a “Extraordinary Statement: “Nicaragua: The Destruction of Democracy“, in which he reiterated “his strongest condemnation of the regime of Daniel Ortega and the groups linked to him, for their systematic censorship against journalists and the media, as well as for the constant violations of human rights and democratic principles in Nicaragua, emphasizing that without them there is no democracy.”
The IAB statement noted that “in 2021, the persecution and harassment of journalists and independent media continued and escalated even further, through arbitrary arrests, raids and baseless accusations, as well as the closure and abusive occupation of media facilities by Nicaraguan police forces”.
He also noted that journalists and media executives in Nicaragua have been sentenced to prison terms ranging from 9 to 13 years, “dictated in trials that failed to respect minimum guarantees for the exercise of the right to defence”, and that “as a result of these persecutions, many communicators, journalists, broadcasters and media directors were forced to leave Nicaragua and go into exile in other countries, which further increased the censorship of freedom of information in the country.
NAB President Curtis LeGeyt opened the meeting with Dr. Pedro Vaca, OAS IACHR Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, and IAB President Lic. Eugenio Sosa Mendoza. LeGeyt highlighted the work being done in the United States to develop new technologies, such as NEXT TV Generation and HD Radio.
LeGeyt also underlined, “above all, the importance of fighting daily for freedom of expression and of the press in the face of attempts to control the media and spread disinformation in our societies”.
Then, Eugenio Sosa Mendoza, President of the IAB, recalled the pioneers of the association who, 75 years ago, united to found the IAB, with the aim of defending the great cause of freedom and democracy. Sosa Mendoza warned that “there still exist today autocrats obsessed with applying regulations to impose hegemonic control over their regimes and subjugate or shut down free and independent media.”
“Whatever the attacks, whatever the sign of violence, wherever it comes from, we will remain united and firm to confront them everywhere”, concluded the president of the IAB.
At the end, the rapporteur for freedom of expression, Dr. Pedro Vaca, addressed all participants to present the risks and challenges facing freedom of expression, journalists and the media in the region. .
Dr Vaca mentioned, among other aspects of vital importance for the health of democratic systems, the warning against the deterioration of public debate, the sustainability of the media, education in the use of social networks and algorithms as well as content indexing mechanisms in the digital ecosystem.
During the inaugural ceremony, the IAB and the Inter-American Press Association commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Panama Doctrine on Freedom of Expression by signing the “Declaration of Washington”, in which they renewed their commitment in favor of freedom of expression and the right to information.
The two hemispheric organizations affirmed that they “will continue their efforts to extend to all regions the ideology of freedom that they have promoted for decades in the three Americas, as in the 21st century, threats and actions that threaten the existence of free and independent journalism and media persist around the world.”
The IAB also paid tribute to Don Boris Eserzki, television pioneer in El Salvador and Honorary President of the IAB, who passed away on March 18.
The IAB also elected new officers at the Assembly:
- President: Li. Eugenio Sosa Mendoza
- 1st Vice-president: Eng. Jose Luis Saca
- 2nd Vice-President: Dr. Tulio Ángel Arbelaez
- Secretary Vice-president: Dr Flavio Lara Resende
- Vice-president treasurer: Mr. Gustavo Piedra Guzmán
- Managing Director: Dr. Juan Andrés Lerena