#WHRDAlert GUATEMALA / Accusations, defamation and disparagement of Prensa Comunitaria and its reporters for coverage of March 8th march

Prensa Comunitaria (Community Press)

Freedom of expression and the right to information

THE FACTS – The news outlet Prensa Comunitaria and its women journalists have been subjected to a smear campaign, including selective targeting, defamation and disparagement in conservative news media and social networks regarding their coverage of the march held on #M82020 in Guatemala City.

As part of their work of journalistic coverage and in keeping with their editorial line, Prensa Comunitaria reporters covered actions in the territories and in the capital city, disseminating many different images of wall paintings, banners, actions and denouncements from last March 8, including images of the march through the streets of the city. Some of these captured a protest action in which denouncements of alleged perpetrators of sexual abuse and other misogynous violence were papered on public walls, and also captured other paintings on walls and public monuments by participants in the march.

However, in one news outlet and in social networks, Prensa Comunitaria and its communicators are being named as those responsible for having painted the walls and denounced the abusers. As a result, this news media and its women journalists are now exposed to all different types of debasement, insults, defamation and hate speech.

We of IM-Defensoras consider it intolerable to condemn women who are only exercising their right to free expression, to inform and to be informed, which are basic principles of journalistic work.

Likewise, in a country where femicides and misogynous violence are the order of the day, it is totally unacceptable to criminalize the free expression of those who legitimately exercise their right to protest this situation and who name and denounce those who are allegedly responsible for abuses, harassment and violence against women.

In this highly disturbing situation, the physical, psychological and moral integrity of women journalists have been placed at high risk, negatively affecting their right to inform and to enjoy freedom of expression.

Accordingly, we demand an end to the defamation and attacks against Prensa Comunitria and the communicators of this news media, as well as guarantees for their physical, psychological and moral integrity.

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