Reports warn of Latin America press freedom issues

byMonica Bentivegna
Feb 2, 2010 in Journalism Basics

Press freedom in Latin America is under attack, according to four reports analyzing issues ranging from existing laws on access to information to harassment and violence against the press and the deaths of journalists in 2009. Read more below:

The Regional Alliance for Freedom of Expression and Information published a study about the situation of Freedom of Expression in the Americas. The study examined the 10-year reports of the Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States (OAS).

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) published a comprehensive report detailing how the laws in Latin America limit and protect the public’s right to access to information. The report was written by Toby Mendel, the legal advisor at ARTICLE 19, who examines the relatively recent laws on access to information available in 11 Latin American countries: Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru and Uruguay.

The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) concluded its 2009 assembly in Buenos Aires condemning the explicit attacks on freedom of expression in several Latin American countries. It also denounced the "harassment and violence" against journalists in Ecuador and Bolivia, the violation to freedom of expression in Venezuela and noted with concern the two drafts on media law in Uruguay and Argentina.

The Latin American Federation of Journalists (FELAC in Spanish) reported that 30 journalists were killed in Latin America and the Caribbean during 2009. Mexico with 13 victims is the most dangerous place for journalists in the region, followed by Colombia which recorded six journalists, Guatemala four, Honduras and Brazil two, El Salvador, Venezuela and Paraguay one.