Threat against freedom and transparency – MENAFN.COM

(MENAFN - Newsroom Panama) The following editorial published on Monday, November 25 in Panama's leading newspaper. which has won numerous awards for its investigative journalism and has pulled back the covers on multiple State and business corruption scandals is a "must-read" for all who value free speech. The perpetrator of the latest attacks who boasts he has the power and money will not be hard to identify

LA PRENSA was born in the middle of the military dictatorship, to fight for the recovery of freedom of expression and the right to information of all Panamanians, as the foundations of democracy. From our first edition, the tyrant and his successors bothered with this newspaper, harassed and, censored, us and vandalized our facilities and, finally, we were closed.

With the restoration of democracy, each of the Presidents of the Republic sought ways to pressure and influence La Prensa. Our cartoonists, photographers, reporters and managers have been singled out and even become defendants, but La Prensa has won over every effort to silence it, thanks to the commitment of our associates, and the loyalty of readers, subscribers and advertisers.

Now, again, not only La Prensa - but also the freedom of expression and the right to information of all Panamanians - faces a new threat that previously failed in its very open attempts to silence us. The new strategy is the use of judicial terrorism and economic defamation.

This is a company with solid financial fundamentals, that punctually fulfills its obligations with all its associates, suppliers, the State and social security. Like all global media companies, and many companies in Panama, we have had to make adjustments in the face of accelerated technological change and a slow-growing economic environment.

However, this is by no means the end of La Prensa.

Never before in the history of Panama, have the networks of political corruption and organized crime appropriated media. They were acquired with suspicious funds and their operation financed with state advertising, which also served to reward the aligned media and punish critics.

Precisely because of the independent exercise of our journalism, these networks of corruption know that La Prensa is an obstacle against their perverse ends. For this reason, they sue us and complain against us recklessly, with the purpose of defaming , label at the level of the audience and produce fear and self-censorship internally.

This judicial terrorism is accompanied by a concerted propaganda effort against this newspaper in the media and social networks controlled by this corruption network. Repeatedly and insistently they persist in inventing rumors that this newspaper will cease to circulate, or manufacture lies to defame our journalists and executives, even getting to muddle our investigative reputation characterizing it as a collaboration with the State security apparatus.

Right now, that overseas aspects of the regime of extortion and blackmail that ruled us begin to reveal themselves, those threatened against this newspaper are getting worse. They warn us that they will not have rested until they close us. For our part, we will not rest either; and we will continue publishing what you want to hide and bringing to light what you want to keep in the dark. We will continue fighting for the freedom of expression and the right to information of all Panamanians, so that this country is a territory where integrity and transparency shine as fundamental qualities of the State and of the whole society.

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