The Km 169 News Agency is a national and regional community communications reference point with a feminist, human rights perspective that publishes articles and visual materials in the Prensa Comunitaria (Community Press) newspaper and the digital Revista Ruda (Badass Magazine). Since the beginning of 2023, 35 attacks have been registered against agency members, including defamation, criminalization, threats, and surveillance.
These attacks are taking place in a context of heightened authoritarianism, with an increasingly intense persecution of journalists and seekers of justice. Attacks and threats against activists, dissidents, and journalists undermine freedom of the press and expression, while hindering the search for justice carried on by both individual and organizational human rights defenders.
This situation has become especially disturbing during the current electoral process. In view of a possible change of government, the ruling powers have set in motion their machinery of corruption and disinformation in order to violate the will of the people expressed at the polls. In this context, freedom of the press, the right to information, and the right to defend rights are fundamental for guaranteeing popular sovereignty and the most basic rights of the Guatemalan people. Leading up to the elections of July 25, 2023, members of the Km 169 News Agency have particularly faced restrictions on their journalistic activity imposed by political party sympathizers, the authorities, and governmental security forces.
We of IM Defensoras hereby express our solidarity with the Km 169 News Agency and urge the society as a whole to join in displays of solidarity and repudiation of the intent to limit freedom of expression. The social networks are an important means of democratizing access to freedom of expression, and so we raise our voice against any attempted censorship at all.
We call on the international community and the general public to stay alert in the face of this situation.