McLean, VA (January 24, 2012) – UNITY: Journalists of Color deplores attempts by some members of the Organization of American States (OAS) to curtail the mission of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression.
The Office was created to stimulate awareness of the importance of the full observance of freedom of expression and information in the hemisphere, given the fundamental role it plays in the consolidation and advancement of the democratic system.
The current Rapporteur, Colombian jurist Catalina Botero, has worked hard to protect journalists under threat in Latin America. In recent reports, the Rapporteur has been critical of actions against the news media taken by Presidents Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Rafael Correa of Ecuador. Both presidents have dismissed the reports and in turn have criticized the Rapporteur.
The OAS will now meet on January 25 to consider an Ecuadorian-Venezuelan proposal to review the freedom of expression office and limit its jurisdiction.
UNITY: Journalists of Color strongly urges OAS ambassadors to reject this measure when it comes up for consideration. We do this based on our belief that an independent press is one of the pillars of a true democracy and that the mission of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression should be preserved intact.
Onica N. Makwakwa, Executive Director
UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc.
Tel: (703) 854-3594