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On average, during last year Latin America has enjoyed a good economic growth. Also on average, it has suffered an important setback in its press freedom indexes. In fact, the countries that put more obstacles for the practice of journalism are among the countries that have experienced the highest growht. Does this show a negative correlation between press freedom and development? No. Just like this report shows, it is a clear proof of how little consolidated Latin American democracies are.
For Centro de Investigación de Medios y Sociedad Andes (CIMAS) at Communications College at Universidad de losAndes it is a privilege to take part in the publishing of this new Report on Press Freedom and Economic Development inLatin America that CADAL puts toghether.
Actually, as this report claim, our region has enjoyed a good economic growth, but curiously it has suffered a set back inpress freedom, why?
In our times, when some people start to question the “economic (classical liberal) development model”, once again weneed to insist that our region needs the coexistence of both Political Liberties and Economic Freedom. That is to say,democracy and market should go hand in hand as the only chance to overcome underdevelopment. The rest is populism,demagogy, rethoric, that sometimes captivate the electoral masses that in despair fall for a “Messiah” with short termpromises.
In the next 14 months, Latin America will face 9 presidential elections and twelve parliamentary elections. Some say thatthere should not be any risk for investments, though the populist uncertainties in Venezuela and Bolivia - countries with themost important risk - are still present and will continue, but what about the rest of the region?
Media is a reflection and contribute to shape public opinion, so the perceptions on democracy and economic developmentare directly related to the way the inform, that is why we need a broad freedom of speech, one of the cornerstones ofdemocracies.
So, this work constitutes an indispensable tool not only for those who inform and want to be informed, but to every singleperson that take parte in the decision process.
A stable democracy needs informed citizens, and they - at the same time - need a journalism commited with truth, libertyand ethics.
We congratulate CADAL and CIMAS for this initiative.
Angel Soto, Ph.DDirectorCommunications CollegeUniversidad de los Andes (Chile)
About the author
Hernán Alberro is Programs Director of Centro para la Apertura y el Desarrollo de América Latina (CADAL). He has a BA in Journalism (Universidad del Salvador) and is candidate to a Master on Administration and Public Policies (Universidad de San Andrés).