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The impunity that allows journalists in Latin America to be murdered without their perpetrators being brought to justice grabbed attention again at the Inter-American Press Association's (IAPA) mid-year meeting in the Dominican Republic. IAPA is issuing protest letters to the
governments of nine countries in the Americas, including Brazil, Colombia and Haiti, urging them to end the impunity surrounding the cases of 30 journalists murdered in Latin America since 1984.

In the majority of cases, a weak judicial system, an absence of political will and official corruption are primary reasons for the lack of attention paid to the murder cases, says IAPA. Protest letters also went out to the governments of Mexico, Bolivia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Paraguay.

In particular, IAPA highlights the cases of Brazil and Colombia, where 18 murders of journalists remain unsolved. In Brazil, investigations into the murders of nine journalists have either slowed down or stalled completely, IAPA says, adding that it plans to send a mission to the
country later this year. In Colombia, not one perpetrator has been brought to justice for the murders of nine journalists, including well-known columnist and humourist Jaime Garzon [See IFEX "Communiqu%26#233;" #11-12]. ">">"Communiqué" #11-12].

Meanwhile, IAPA is calling on the governments of Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and the United States to reconsider various proposed laws to regulate journalists or restrict access to information. The group urges the United States government to maintain full access to public records under the Freedom of Information Act and not to place any limits to its applicability. Guatemala and Nicaragua are being asked to remove legal proposals requiring the licensing of journalists, while Ecuador is being urged not to pass two bills that would regulate the content of private news media.

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