Declaration of Manaus on Journalism in Latin America

Manaus, Amazon, Brazil, June 1st, 2002

The group Latin America of the International Federation of Journalists (GAL/FIP), met during the XXX Congress of the National Federation of Journalist of Brazil (FENAJ), agrees on issuing the following:

We express our concern about the deterioration of the working conditions of the journalists and press workers, as a consequence of the economical and finance crisis in the countries of the region, expressed in the massive lay off, labor uncertainty, salary decrease, increase of working hours, appropriation of the social security supports, as well as utilization of students in substitution of professionals, and contracting of unsuitable personnel for the performance of the professional work. The journalist is a professional and, as such, has a right to work in worthy conditions, to sign collective contract agreements, to earn a salary in accordance to his professional category and to the respect to his author rights.

The economical crisis in the media is greatly caused by the lack of creativity and interest of the owners for generating new income sources that guarantee a journalism of quality and a deign remuneration for the professionals.

Journalism is fundamental for the invigoration of Democracy and the journalist is the professional responsible for complying with this function. In this regard, we support the efforts being put on by our affiliate organizations to promote Laws that establish parameters inherent to our profession. We remark on the struggle to defend the professional regulations being currently developed by the National Federation of Journalist of Brazil (FENAJ), the Syndicate of Journalist of Panama (SPP), the National Association of Journalist of Peru (ANP) and the National Syndicate of Journalist of Nicaragua (SNP).

We reject the utilization of the communication media to benefit particular or political interests that deeply affect the freedom of expression, of information and of press, which is a right of the society on the whole. The exclusion of information about certain social actors and popular struggles from the agenda of some social communication media is alarming.

We condemn the aggressions daily suffered by the journalists during the professional practice. These facts must be taken on, not only as a violation of the human rights, but as attack against society's right of information. In the case of Paraguay, we demand that the public attorneys take on these attacks as crimes of public penal action and punish the responsible. In the case of Colombia, we condemn the violence systematically used against the journalists.

In the frame of these attacks, we condemn the murder of journalist Jorge Tortosa, as well as the cases of serious and irreversible lesions caused to other colleges while complying with their professional practice, during the events of April 11 in Caracas, Venezuela. We demand from the political and judicial authorities in Venezuela the deep investigation and clarification of these happenings and punishment to whom results responsible.

We also condemn the silence, omission and distortion carried out by some national and international communication media that prevented the public from knowing with fidelity the events recently occurred in Venezuela. We note that this practice has aggravated since the events of last September 11, reaching a state of preoccupying international generalization. Call the Latin American Journalists for the practice of the profession to maintain its ethical principles, respecting the fundamental rights of the human individual and to isolate any attempt to contaminate journalism with practices of corruption, aiming to the invigoration and legitimacy of journalism as a social instrument of human development. To this regard, we remark the effort of the Argentinean journalists and their associations for their high example of courage in the professional practice, amid the economical suffering and other difficulties to let the people know the facts of painful social reality originated precisely in corruption.

We want to show our solidarity with the guild of Paraguay that, as a consequence of the penal persecution of the acts of corruption that lead to the depletion of the Banco Nacional de Trabajadores, were expelled of the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores.