Human Rights and
International Democratic Solidarity

Research Reports

December 26, 2006

Local level journalism and Democracy indicators in Latin America

By Fernando J. Ruiz
@fejaruiz
 

LATIN AMERICA'S WORST AREAS TO PRACTICE JOURNALISM IN THE SECOND SEMESTER 2006

- Journalists' lives run the most risk in Mexico.
- Argentina does not have gag laws but there are gag practices.
- Chávez advances on the opposition press.
- Raúl Castro increases repression in order to protect the succession.

TENDENCY OBSERVATORY

Journalism face to face with the criminal coalition
- United States press and its coverage of drug trafficking.
- The police as the center of journalistic quality.
- The democratic coalition.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

  • The Cuban Government increased repression and information blockade so as to protect the succession process.
  • Criminal groups in varios countries in the region, among others Mexico, Colombia and Brazil, have obliged a redefinition of press practices.
  • Mexico is the country where the lives of journalists run the most risk and the Government is unable to defend their rights. Brazil is being challenged by an organization called Primer Comando de la Capital (PCC) and journalism will necessarily become involved.
  • Argentina is possibly the country in Latin America with the least restrictive legislation but their gag practices are highly developed.
  • In Venezuela, following his reelection, President Chavez has encroached on the private media that oppose him most.
  • In Bolivia, the private media maintains its independence but increasing tension will affect journalism.
  • The Chilean and Uruguayan democracies have a history of respect for journalism. However, some laws considered as gag laws continue in effect such as Contempt Law (Uruguay) and imprisonment for offenses affecting honor.
  • In United States, it would appear that the press does not want to delve deeper into drug trafficking within the country.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Fernando Javier Ruiz

Fernando.Ruiz@fci.austral.edu.ar


Professor at the Seminars on Journalism and Democracy and on History and Culture of Communications, at the Austral University School of Communications.
Advisor to the Democratic Strengthening Area of the Centre for the Opening and Development of Latin America (CADAL). Ph.D. in Public Communication from the University of Navarra Degree in Political Science from the Universidad Católica Argentina (UCA).

Author of the following books:

  • Otra grieta en la pared: Informe y testimonios de la nueva prensa cubana, 2003,(Another crack in the wall: Reports and testimonies of the new Cuban press) CADAL / Konrad Adenauer Stiftung
  • Las palabras son acciones: historia política y profesional del diario La Opinión de Jacobo Timerman, (Words are action: Political & professional history of the La Opinión newspaper belonging to Jacobo Timerman), 1971-77, Perfil Libros, Buenos Aires, 2001.
  • El señor de los mercados. Ambito Financiero, la City y el poder del periodismo económico,(The master of the markets: Ambito Financiero, the City & the power of the financial press), El Ateneo, Buenos Aires, 2001.
Fernando J. Ruiz
Fernando J. Ruiz
Doctor en Comunicación Pública por la Universidad de Navarra y Licenciado en Ciencias Políticas, Universidad Católica Argentina (UCA). Profesor e investigador tiempo completo de Periodismo y Democracia e Historia de la Comunicación en la Facultad de Comunicación de la Universidad Austral (Argentina). Es autor de los libros “Las palabras son acciones: historia política y profesional del diario La Opinión de Jacobo Timerman, 1971-77”, “Otra grieta en la pared: informe y testimonios de la nueva prensa cubana”, “El señor de los mercados. Ambito Financiero, la City y el poder del periodismo económico”. Es el presidente del Foro de Periodismo Argentino (Fopea).
Twitter: @fejaruiz