“Freedom of expression is a priority for the government,” Bernardo Arevalo assured the International Press Association and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

“Freedom of expression is a priority for the government,” Bernardo Arevalo assured the International Press Association and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Guatemala's President, Bernardo Arévalo, stated that the government “will not use tools to prosecute the press,” while ensuring that “freedom of expression is a priority on the national government's agenda,” during a meeting with the President of Guatemala. Held with a delegation from the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (Committee to Protect Journalists).

The mission of the two international organizations is led by the President of the Association, Roberto Roque, and the Program Director Committee to Protect JournalistsGuatemalan President Carlos Martinez de la Serna met for an hour with the recently inaugurated Guatemalan President, in the presidential office of the National Palace of Culture in the country's capital.

The delegation also consists of other authorities in the country Yes, including Senior Vice President, José Roberto Dotrez; Chairman of the Executive Committee, gabriella vivanco, Its Executive Director, Carlos Loria, is in Guatemala this week to assess the state of press freedom in the country after a dark period for local journalism, marked by the systematic criminalization of journalists by the Public Ministry and the justice sector.

“President Arevalo’s decision to grant a meeting of two international organizations whose main mission is to defend freedom of expression, less than two weeks after taking office, is an unambiguous sign of the importance his government attaches to protecting and promoting the press.” “Human rights,” Rock said.

Political persecution

“The meeting was very productive Arevalo He expressed his commitment to changing the dynamics witnessed in recent years, which were dominated by judicial persecution against journalists, the ongoing stigmatization and harassment of critical voices, and the concealment of information in the absence of the rule of law.

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The mission included a visit to José Rubén Zamora, founder and president of Elperiódico, who has been imprisoned in the Mariscal Zavala military prison since July 2022, due to his journalistic investigations into corruption after an operation marred by vices and irregularities, in clear retaliation. For his critical media work.

Arevalo highlighted this issue Zamora It “symbolizes” the political persecution the journalist has been subjected to because of his complaints. He said that although his government did not have the authority to release him, he hoped that at the next session he would be granted alternative measures to continue his proceedings under home detention.

Arevalo's government decided to lift the restrictions that had burdened Zamora, and Interior Minister Francisco Jiménez visited him in prison the day after he took office. Zamora recounted to the mission the blatant violations and methods of psychological and physical torture to which he was subjected during his long period of imprisonment.

“There is no legal justification for him to spend another minute in prison,” said Martinez de la Serna, of Amnesty International. Committee to Protect Journalists. “In the first place, Zamora should never have gone to prison, he should have faced his ridiculous charges freedom. “It has been a long time coming, and Zamora must be released to be with his family.”

Last October, Yes He expressed his satisfaction with the decision of the Second Court of Appeal Guatemala Revoke Zamora's six-year prison sentence and order a new trial to begin on February 5.

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The Committee to Protect Journalists urged the authorities Guatemala And they respect Zamora's right to a fair trial in his new trial. As a result of political and economic pressures, elPeriódico ceased operations on May 15, 2023.

Rapporteur on freedom of expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (Inter-American Commission on Human Rights) He requested a field visit to supervise the precautionary measures in Zamora, which was granted Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

At the invitation of Yes To sign the Chapultepec and Salta Declarations, the President promised to analyze them in-depth with his legal team to ensure their compatibility with the country's legal framework, and indicated that he would not see any problems in signing them within a reasonable period of time. time.

While talking to Yes and the Committee to Protect Journalists, Arevalo also highlighted the importance of leaving behind the blocking and concealment of information that characterized the previous administration, in order to promote a system with broader access and more transparency in the interests of democracy.

He was also sure to point out that his government would work to “dust off” the protection mechanisms for journalists and human rights defenders that were paralyzed during the government of Jimmy Morales.

He also stated that it is necessary to ensure that journalists carry out their media work without fear of reprisal, especially in the interior areas of the country where there are no minimum security guarantees for the press.

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

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The Committee to Protect Journalists is an independent, nonprofit organization that works to protect press freedom around the world.

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