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World Press Freedom Day marked

Organizations have called for more transparency.

Spanish version

Temas:

The name of A Anders Chydenius (1729-1803) goes unnoticed even in the newsrooms of most media in the world.

A Finnish, priest, politician and promoter of freedom and human rights, he is the man who wrote first law on access to information in the world. It happened in Sweden-Finland 250 years ago. Chydenius was inspired by China, whose Imperial Censorship Bureau of China jealously guarded the government from being publicly exposed for incompetence, bureaucracy and corruption.

May 3 is World Press Freedom Day, and UNESCO is requesting that people take time to reflect on transparency, the access to information as a fundamental freedom and human right, the protection of press freedom from censorship and excessive surveillance and ensuring the safety of journalism.

Unesco recalled that, after the approval of the first law of freedom of information in 1766, over 90 countries have adopted similar measures.

The Inter-American Press Association is another of the bodies to make a pronouncement on this day. In a statement, the organization said that "unfortunately, not all countries in the region have moved at the same pace in terms of request for access to information."

It gave the example of countries like Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia and Costa Rica, where, says the agency, there are no laws on access to information. In Ecuador, the government has the right to block access to information as its 2004 Law of Transparency and Access to Public Information lapsed with the approval of a gag rule in 2013.

Something similar occurs in Nicaragua where the government routinely ignores the Access Act passed in 2008.

Honduras also limits the press under the pretext of ensuring national security, the group said.

Today, the association invites people to join its global campaign to promote a culture of openness and transparency by using various hashtags on social networks.

Campaña del 3 de mayo de 2016 Expandir Imagen
Campaña del 3 de mayo de 2016

In a 2012 interview, Fernando Berguido, current ambassador of Panama in Italy who served as chairman of Transparency International chapter of Panama, said that the passage of press freedom laws in 2002 were modeled after Us laws, but warned that it was virtually impossible to use them as a model "due to the dramatic differences between the two legal systems."

He said they sought other models within the region, but "not a single country in Latin America had this type of legislation, so we started writing from scratch."

Asked about access to public information in the country, Carlos Gasnell, chief executive of Transparency International Chapter of Panama, recalled that citizens can see which institutions have responded to requests for information that have been made in recent years, anonymously, through volunteers.

Meanwhile, in Panama representatives of various journalists' associations discussed the current state of press freedom and the challenges facing the country in this regard.

Atenógenes Rodriguez, president of the National Council of Journalism, said, for example, that the great challenge "is the thoroughness in the handling of the truth."

"We are in an era of information overload, which is confused between lies, advertising, opinions and truth. Freedom of expression implies the right we all have to express ourselves freely, but there must be responsibility for what we say and the consequences of what we say," he added.

Guillermo Antonio Adames, president of the Forum of Journalists for Freedom of Expression and Information, is of the view that "we must continue fighting the strong alliance between corruption and impunity."

Journalist Eduardo Quiros said that the main challenge is to make sure the administration of justice "do not go counter to the most advanced doctrines in favor of freedom of expression. Even today we face absurd failures."

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