Human Rights and
International Democratic Solidarity

Research Reports

July 30, 2007

Local level Journalism and Democracy indicators in Latin America

THE WORST AREAS TO PRACTICE JOURNALISME IN THE FIRST SEMESTER 2007
- Journalists' life in Cuban prisons.
- Mexico surpasses Colombia in the number of journalists murdered.
- Bolivia and Ecuador Constitutional Assemblymen and the media.
- Congresses refuse to eliminate ''dead words''.
- Latin American Supreme Courts' took key decisions.
By Fernando J. Ruiz
@fejaruiz
 

THE WORST AREAS TO PRACTICE JOURNALISME IN THE FIRST SEMESTER 2007

  • Journalists' life in Cuban prisons
  • Mexico surpasses Colombia in the number of journalists murdered
  • Bolivia and Ecuador Constitutional Assemblymen and the media
  • Congresses refuse to eliminate "dead words"
  • Latin American Supreme Courts' took key decisions

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

  • Cuba not only jails journalists but also places their life in danger as a result of the appalling state of the prisons. Nearly one third of the imprisoned journalists have health problems.
  • While in Mexico murders increase and other forms of aggression to the press diminish, in Colombia the murders diminish and other forms of aggression increase. After twenty years of heading the number of journalists murdered, Colombia yields first place in Latin America to Mexico.
  • Venezuelan Government did not renew RCTV’s license. As a result, they have consolidated their mass communication predominance, thereby reducing that of their critics to the mass audience.
  • The RCTV case fueled a dual debate in Latin America: a) Renewal of radio and television licenses in the region and b) Different viewpoints regarding freedom of press.
  • Bolivian Government takes first measures restricting the community media not under their control. Meanwhile, they continue developing their own media system.
  • Bolivia and Ecuador’s Constitutional Assemblies will be the scenario for discussion of different press freedom viewpoints applicable to the entire region.
  • A lot of gag law legislation still exists although in most cases they are “dead letters”. Nevertheless, Congresses refuse to eliminate them.
  • Latin American Supreme Courts are key players in building the framework within which journalism is practiced in each country.
  • Discussion of how official advertising is distributed in Latin America increases. In most countries, the criteria employed is favoritism. There is no favoritism in Uruguay and Chile but the debate is open to establish new distribution criteria.
  • In most countries in the region, State and society’s levels of incivility are journalism’s main enemies.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Fernando Javier Ruiz

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