Nº 9/05





          The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) celebrates the award of the Inter-American Press Association’s Chapultepec Grand Prize for protecting and preserving freedom of expression and of the press to its Executive Secretary, Santiago A. Canton, in recognition of his track record of promoting freedom of expression in the Americas.


          Dr. Canton was elected in 1998 as the Inter-American Commission’s first Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression.  His term in office was characterized by his campaign to get rid of “contempt of public authorities” (desacato) laws, the creation and implementation of a network of protection for journalists, and by the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression. In 2001, the IACHR elected Dr. Canton as its Executive Secretary, the position he holds today.


When he received the award today, Dr. Canton underscored the important role of journalism in informing society about the grave problems in the Hemisphere, including extreme poverty, violence against women, the risks incurred by the men and women defending human rights, as well as the various forms of human rights violations against children in the Americas.


Dr. Canton paid tribute to the work of journalists, who during decades of civil wars and military dictatorships worked arduously to report what they saw and thanks to whom thousands of people in the Hemisphere saved their lives. He pointed out that “their tireless endeavors undoubtedly helped to strengthen the rights of the inhabitants of the region.”


He added: “This award is a tribute to the longstanding efforts of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to defend and promote the human rights of the men and women of the Americas.”



Washington, D.C., March 12, 2005