Panamanian journalists warn of threats against freedom of expression
"La libertad de expresión y el derecho de la ciudadana de escoger como informarse ha estado bajo ataque durante suficiente tiempo. Y llegó el momento de poner un alto al acoso", Guillermo Adames. #DefiendeTuLibertad @fperiodistaspma pic.twitter.com/dpBBOfTIu1— Fórumdeperiodistas (@fperiodistaspma) December 20, 2021
On 20th December 2022, Panamanian journalists warned that freedom of expression in the country was under threat. The director of Consejo Nacional de Periodismo (National Journalism Council - CNP), Guillermo Adames, said in a press conference that Panamanian institutions have silenced public opinion by allowing authorities to persecute, intimidate and threaten not only journalists but also people in general for exercising their right of freedom of speech.
The press conference was convened after former President Ricardo Martinelli and others announced they would file civil suits against digital media Foco and journalist Mauricio Valenzuela.
On 17th January 2022, three people were injured during clashes at a demonstration in Chanquinola, Bocas del Toro province. Protesters had blocked local roads near the Authority of Micro, Small and Medium-Size Enterprise, saying that the government did not disburse the resources in a programme to support entrepreneurs. A driver who was angered by the blockades discussed this with the demonstrators and tried to bypass the protest with his car. The driver then attacked demonstrators with a machete when they tried to stop him.
The clash left three people injured, two demonstrators and the driver. Panama’s Ombudsperson, Eduardo Leblanc, condemned these acts of violence. Leblanc asked the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the police to prosecute those responsible for this attack.