Inter American Press Association

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The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) describes itself as "a non-profit organization dedicated to defending freedom of expression and of the press throughout the Americas." [1] Membership is largely comprised of media companies and media owners; IAPA represents "over 1300 newspapers and magazines". Although its charter may state that it defends "freedom of expression", the real purpose of the organization is defend the ownership and control of media operations, i.e., the freedom of the media company owners.

As the explanation by Fred Landis below indicates, IAPA has had a long and close relationship with the CIA and its affiliated organs – these were responsible for setting up the association in the first place. Beginning the mid-1990s, the CIA sought to keep a lower profile, and instead the US relationship came in the for of the National Endowment for Democracy and its many affiliated organizations. Since the mid-1990s, the NED and its affiliated groups perform the media coordination role performed by the CIA in the past – although some of the people involved are the same.[1]

Controversy

In July 2002, Al Giordano from Narco News sent an open letter to IAPA when "with colleagues in authentic journalism and independent media," they "launched an international dialogue about the role of "press freedom" organizations. We are focusing on the three such organizations with the largest budgets: the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, the Paris-based Reporters Without Borders and... Miami-based Inter-American Press Association." The letter went on to note that: "Your organization is nothing more than a lobbying group for the owners of a commercial industry - newspapers - and the IAPA's cynical use of the "press freedom" issue is only wielded to expand the economic and political powers of the owners of commercial media, abusive powers that are increasingly in conflict with the free expression rights of working journalists and of a majority of members of the public." [2]

In 2002 then-IAPA president Robert Cox issued a press release endorsing the short-lived coup.[2]

In 2006 the Venezuelan "government accused the Inter American Press Association of “disinformation to attack Venezuela”." [3]

Murky Chapters

IAPA becomes a useful tool when a Latin American country undergoes democratic or revolutionary change. Fred Landis describes how newspapers in the target country become propaganda instruments manipulated by the CIA and its affiliated organs:

IAPA stands ready, with all its hundreds of cooperating member newspapers, to scream "Marxist Threat to Free Press" if any attempt is made by the target government to restrict the flow of hostile propaganda. In 1969 the CIA had five agents working as media executives at El Mercurio, all of whom in subsequent years were elevated to the Board of Directors of IAPA. The owner of El Mercurio was made head of the Freedom of the Press committee, and later President. IAPA bylaws permitted only working owners to be members, so the bylaws were changed to accommodate him. Then many of the CIA operatives at Copley News Service were made members of the Board of Directors of IAPA. Immediately before the campaign to oust socialist Prime Minister Michael Manley, Jamaica Daily Gleaner publisher Oliver Clarke was added to the Executive Committee; he has now been promoted to Treasurer. At the last annual convention in San Diego, IAPA elevated Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, Jr., to its Board of Directors. At that time he was not an editor or publisher of La Prensa, but the CIA needed him because he had the same name as his martyred father. After his elevation he was belatedly made Assistant Director of La Prensa, and when he was recently added to the IAPA Executive Committee, La Prensa began carrying the IAPA membership credential in its masthead. At the last IAPA meeting in Rio de Janeiro in October, speeches, including those by Vice-President Bush, were dominated by alarmist references to the situation of the press in Nicaragua.
Obviously the owner of a conservative newspaper in Latin America does not need CIA money to be against a socialist government. The assistance provided by the CIA is primarily technical, not financial. Without CIA help, the local newspaper's opposition would be openly stated on the editorial page in language reflecting the ideology of the local conservative elite. That would be ideological warfare, not psychological warfare. But the CIA is not concerned, in these operations, with local ideology; it is concentrating on the use of its bag of technological dirty tricks. One of these tricks is disinformation.[3]

Officers

  • Honorary President - Scott C. Schurz, Herald-Times Bloomington, Indiana
  • President - Alejandro Aguirre, Diario Las Américas, Miami, Florida
  • 1st Vice-President - Gonzalo Marroquin, Prensa Libre, Guatemala, Guatemala
  • 2nd Vice-President - Milton Coleman, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C.
  • Treasurer - Elizabeth Ballantine, The Durango Herald, Durango, Colorado
  • Secretary - Jaime Mantilla, Hoy, Quito, Ecuador
  • Executive Director - Julio E. Muñoz

Source

Executive Committee

  • Juan Luis Correa (Chairman), La Estrella, El Siglo, Panama City, Panama
  • Enrique Santos Calderón (Vice Chairman) ; El Tiempo, Bogota, Colombia (
  • Fabricio Altamirano; El Diario De Hoy, San Salvador, El Salvador
  • Sidnei Basile; Grupo Abril, São Paulo, Brazil
  • Bruce Brugmann; San Francisco Bay Guardian, San Francisco, California
  • Jorge Canahuati Larach; La Prensa, San Pedro Sula, Honduras
  • Juan Francisco Ealy Ortiz; El Universal, Mexico, DF
  • Felipe T. Edwards; La Segunda, Santiago, Chile
  • Gerardo Garcia Gamboa; Novedades de Mérida, Yucatan, Mexico
  • Vivian-Anne Gittens; Nation News, Fontabelle, Barbados
  • Armando Gonzalez Rodicio; La Nación, San Jose, Costa Rica
  • Anders Gyllenhaal; The Miami Herald, Miami, Florida
  • Jose Santiago Healy; Diario San Diego, Chula Vista, California
  • Gonzalo Marroquin; Prensa Libre, Guatemala
  • Francisco Miro Quesada; El Comercio, Lima, Peru
  • Bartolome Mitre; La Nación, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Gustavo Mohme; La República, Lima, Peru
  • Robert Rivard; San Antonio Express-News, San Antonio, Texas
  • Edward Seaton; Seaton Newspapers, Manhattan, Kansas
  • Jayme Sirotsky; RBS, Porto Alegre, Brazil

[4]

Advisory Council

http://www.sipiapa.com/v4/index.php?page=sip_autoridades&seccion=3&idioma=us

Board of Directors

http://www.sipiapa.com/v4/index.php?page=sip_autoridades&seccion=4&idioma=us


Inter American Press Association: Directors/Advisory Board

Contact

Jules Dubois Building, 1801 S.W. 3rd Avenue
Miami, Florida 33129
Tel: (305) 634-2465
Web: http://www.sipiapa.com

Resources and articles

References

  1. Philip Agee, FlashPoints Interview, May 2005
  2. Counterpunch, 16 August 2005, The Corporate Media vs. Chavez
  3. Fred Landis, "CIA Media Operations in Chile, Jamaica, and Nicaragua", Covert Action Information Bulletin, Number 16, March 1982, pp. 34 -- 35.

External links