Human Rights and
International Democratic Solidarity

Research Reports


Press Freedom and Economic Development in Latin America 2005

By Hernán Alberro

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.

Hernán Alberro

For Centro de Investigación de Medios y Sociedad Andes (CIMAS) at Communications College at Universidad de los
Andes it is a privilege to take part in the publishing of this new Report on Press Freedom and Economic Development in
Latin 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 in
press freedom, why?

In our times, when some people start to question the “economic (classical liberal) development model”, once again we
need 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 term

In the next 14 months, Latin America will face 9 presidential elections and twelve parliamentary elections. Some say that
there should not be any risk for investments, though the populist uncertainties in Venezuela and Bolivia - countries with the
most 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 development
are directly related to the way the inform, that is why we need a broad freedom of speech, one of the cornerstones of

So, this work constitutes an indispensable tool not only for those who inform and want to be informed, but to every single
person 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, liberty
and ethics.

We congratulate CADAL and CIMAS for this initiative.

Angel Soto, Ph.D
Communications College
Universidad 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).

Hernán Alberro
Hernán Alberro
Advisory Councelor
Degree in Journalism (Universidad del Salvador) and MSc in Administration and Public Policy (Universidad de San Andrés). Participated in seminars from the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) in New York, The Institute for Humane Studies and the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington DC, on freedom and administration of think-tanks. Currently works as an independent consultant assisting in international cooperation projects, fundraising and communication for national and international organizations. Former director of CADAL.

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