Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Protest Postpones Adoption of Ethics Policy by IAPA

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Protest Postpones Adoption of Ethics Policy by IAPA

Article excerpt

The Inter American Press Association on Tuesday delayed for at least a year adopting a painstakingly crafted 'Journalism Values' credo after Latin American publishers strenuously complained it would be used against them by enemies of the press.

Former Tribune Publishing Co. President Jack Fuller, who pushed for adoption of the ethics policy, said it was intended to "an affirmation of our values, about what we stand for." The eight-paragraph draft circulated at the meeting urges newspapers to be "transparent" and "honest" with readers about its news judgments, and to provide news and opinions enabling people to ?make informed decisions about everything from government affairs to the best way to lead healthy, happy lives.?

Those turned out to be controversial assertions.

"In the hands of the enemies of the press, this will be a powerful weapon to be used precisely against freedom of expression," said Claudio Polillo, director of the weekly Uruguay newspaper Busqueda. "It is a very dangerous document."

Clauses about transparency could be used against a news organization by authoritarians angered by its coverage, Polillo said. "This would be a victory for the Chavez's, the Ortega's, the Morales's, the Correa's," he said, listing the names of the press-unfriendly presidents of Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Ecuador. …

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