Panel Discussions on Freedom of Expression Expose Threats to Media in Mexico, Latin America

Jan 142009
  • Knight Fellow Benjamin Fernandez (right) with UNAM professor Benjamin Arditi and Mario Campos.

  • Knight Fellow Benjamin Fernandez (right) with UNAM professor Benjamin Arditi and Mario Campos.

A series of panel discussions was organized Dec. 8-13 in Mexico City by Knight International Journalism Fellow Benjamin Fernandez, the Instituto Mexicano de la Radio (IMER) and the new Foundation for Freedom of Expression to mark the 60th anniversary of the adoption by the United Nations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Radio stations based in Mexico, the Netherlands and Paraguay broadcast six panel discussions focusing on the vital role freedom of expression plays in promoting democracy and strengthening press freedom. The discussions came at a critical time for Mexico; at least 38 journalists have been killed in Mexico in the last two years – most of them in retaliation for their efforts to report on rampant corruption and drug trafficking.

On the panels: Armando Prida, president of Fundacion para la Libertad de Expresion and owner of Sintesis newspaper; writer Ruy Sanchez; university professor Benjamin Arditi; Jose Zepeda, a journalist and news director of the Hispanic Division of Radio Nederland; and ethics professor Javier Restrepo. Mexico’s Antenna Radio and 10 other Mexican radio stations, Radio Libre in Paraguay and Radio Nederlands in Holland, which has 1,500 radio stations throughout Latin America, broadcast the discussions. IMER will rebroadcast the programs in January and distribute copies across Mexico.