Human Rights and
International Democratic Solidarity

Research Reports

November 1st, 2005

Press Freedom and Economic Development in Latin America 2005

By Hernán Alberro
@halberro
 

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
promises.


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
democracies.


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
Director
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).