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Why Threats to the Press Threaten Us All

Why Threats to the Press Threaten Us All
Freedom of the press in the U.S. is granted in the Constitution. But a third of the world's people live in countries with no press freedom and no democratic system of governance. How does intimidation and violence against journalists pose a threat to democracies young and old? We'll talk about the problem of silencing the press and how Mexico has emerged as one of the most dangerous places for journalists in the world.

Maureen Cavanaugh: 2009 did not start out well for the world's journalists. In the first eight days of the year, five reporters were killed in action around the globe, at least two of them targeted for assassination because of their news stories.

Freedom of the press is still a new concept for many nations around the world and it has no meaning for the various terror groups and organized crime syndicates that wield tremendous international power. So it seems, the stories that most need reporting are the most dangerous for reporters to cover. And the rising number of journalists killed, missing or in prison continues to attest to that fact.


The Institute of the Americas' workshop, "Silencing the Press: Violence Against Journalists as a Threat to Democracy," is May 4-8, 2009.


Lynne Walker, vice president of the Institute of the Americas, and former Mexico City bureau chief for Copley News Service.

Carlos Lauria, senior program coordinator for the Americas for the Committee to Protect Journalists.