Human Rights and
International Democratic Solidarity

Research Reports


Local level journalism and Democracy indicators in Latin America

By Fernando J. Ruiz

The worst areas in Latin America to practice
journalism in the last semester
Improvements in some of the worst areas reported in last semester's report
The owners and the democratic quality of the press
The presidents and journalism
Judges and journalism
Congressmen and journalism
Famous phrases

Executive Summary

Cuba there has been no progress but rather a worsening of the independent journalist’s situation. Particularly worrying is the situation of the twenty two condemned journalists who are suffering persecution in prison.

Colombia there has been a slight improvement but it continues to be a country where journalists’ lives run enormous risks.

Mexico, the danger is increasing and the authorities do not punish the murdere’s impunity.

Haiti the semblance of order that was achieved midway through last year has been broken. The risk of violence against the press is increasing. Following the referendum won by the Venezuelan Government, an institutional and legal structure is being built that potentially will place restrictions on press freedom.

Latin America there exists a group of presidents who are critical of the role of the press and at times their attitudes are repressive, clientelistic and they withhold information. This is improper behavior in democratic scenarios. Legislative activity referring to the media is increasing in the entire region with the intention of renewing its legal framework

Whereas the authoritarian structures are being maintained fairly stable, in Latin America journalistic professionalism is increasing. These two factors are like two trains traveling in opposite directions. This makes it foreseeable that conflicts with the press will increase. It is possible that in several of the more modern cities this conflictive situation will be contained or take on less violent forms, but in the outlaying areas where there is less democratic quality, the result will be the opposite.

About the author

Fernando J. Ruiz is a professor of Journalism and Democracy at the School of Communication of the Austral University and Advisor of Journalism and Democracy Area of the Centre for the Opening and Development of Latin America (CADAL). He has a Ph.D. in Public Communication from the University of Navarra where he obtained the extraordinary award for his thesis.

He is the author of the books "Las palabras son acciones: Historia política y profesional del diario La Opinión, 1971-1977" (Perfil Libros) and "Otra grieta en la pared. Informe y testimonios de la nueva prensa cubana (CADAL / Konrad Adenauer Stiftung). He coordinated the publication of the book "Prensa y Congreso: trama de relaciones y representación social" (La Crujía Ediciones).

Fernando J. Ruiz
Fernando J. Ruiz
Academic Advisor
PhD in Public Communication (Universidad de Navarra) and degree in Political Science (Universidad Católica Argentina). Professor and researcher of Journalism and Democracy and History of Communications at Universidad Austral. He is the author of “Las palabras son acciones: historia política y profesional del diario La Opinión de Jacobo Timerman, 1971-1977”, “Otra grieta en la pared: informe y testimonios de la nueva prensa cubana”, “El señor de los mercados. Ámbito Financiero, la City y el poder del periodismo económico”. He is the president of the Foro del Periodismo Argentino (FOPEA).

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