Media Center

Press Release


  June 28, 2005

The President of the Inter American Press Association, (IAPA) Alejandro Miró Quesada, today stressed the need for the media in the Americas to denounce corruption, uphold ethical principles, defend democracy, support a better standard of living for citizens and practice proactive journalism if they are to stay in business while remaining faithful to the mission of advocating good governance.

“A journalist who denounces corrupt practice must have the moral authority to do so,” he declared, in the keynote presentation for the 6th conference in the monthly Lecture Series of the Americas. Speaking on “Journalism and Good Governance in Latin America and the Caribbean,” the Peruvian journalist and lawyer said, “The mission to defend democracy or good governance often means criticizing negative actions or denouncing crimes.”

In Latin America, and to some extent in the Caribbean, the oversight role that falls to the written press is all the more critical for society as these media often are the only such force in the absence of solid institutions, Miró Quesada said. He argued that investigative journalism must be thorough. “It must also be willing to courageously confront the power establishment—in the political and economic arenas and even mafia types—and acknowledge and properly correct mistakes.”

Miró Quesada, who is also publisher of Peru’s El Comercio newspaper, suggested journalism must also “seek to solve, rather than create, problems and seek to promote better standard of living for citizens” by being transparent, fair and based on ethical guidelines that emphasize such elements as plurality, truth, equity and independence.

Miró Quesada also highlighted the importance of synergies between the written press and the electronic media during the conference, which was inaugurated by Permanent Council Chairman and Peruvian Ambassador Alberto Borea, with opening remarks by OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza. The President of San Martín de Porres University of Peru, José Antonio Chang, was also present.

OAS Assistant Secretary General Luigi Einaudi presided over a question-and-answer session that followed Miró Quesada’s lecture. This was followed by a roundtable discussion among several prominent journalists: Washington Post Deputy Foreign Editor Peter Eisner; Jack Fuller, former President of the Tribune Publishing Co. and former IAPA President; Hugo Guerra, journalist and lawyer, of San Martin de Porres University of Peru; and Paulo Sotero, Washington correspondent for O Estado de S. Paulo. Eduardo Bertoni, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the OAS Inter-American Commission on Human Rights at the OAS, moderated.

The Lecture Series of the Americas was created by the OAS Permanent Council, on a Peruvian government initiative, to promote democratic principles and values in the countries of the hemisphere. The monthly conferences feature internationally known speakers who address key issues of the hemispheric agenda, such as the strengthening of democracy, human rights, social development, hemispheric security and the fight against poverty. The 12 conferences scheduled for 2005 are being held thanks to a financial contribution from Peru’s San Martín de Porres University and support from the government of the People’s Republic of China and the Hellenic Republic.

Former US President Jimmy Carter, Inter-American Development Bank President Enrique Iglesias, International Criminal Court President Phillipe Kirsch, Nobel Laureate for Literature Derek Walcott of Saint Lucia and Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Treasury John B. Taylor have been keynote speakers for the previous lectures.

Reference: E-129/05