The last few weeks have been extremely busy for everyone at CPJ as we've been preparing for the 2010 International Press Freedom Awards. Today's press conference in Washington will be followed by a series of events culminating in our awards ceremony Tuesday in New York. As always, the awardees make it special.
On his blog, El Oso, David Sasaki has just finished up the third and last part in his series, "Internet Censorship and Freedom of Expression in Latin America." It's a brilliant overview of current political and social pressures on free speech and online reporting in the region.
Some key observations:
Direct governmental censorship in Latin America remains largely non-existent. Even occasional "murky," anecdotal evidence is mostly confined to Cuba and perhaps Venezuela. Sasaki does a great job of collating what's been rumored so far. The OpenNet Initiative has said it will shortly publish updated research.
Litigation over content is the most widespread threat to free expression online across the region. As CPJ has reported for many years, criminal defamation laws and overbroad judicial decisions affect independent journalism in many Latin American countries. The large numbers of ongoing cases against individual Net users and their hosting services show that this risk has not diminished online.
Brazil and Chile are leading the way in attempts to create Internet-era regulation, with broad participation. Other countries could learn a lot from watching how this new body of law develops, despite occasional missteps (or perhaps because of them).
The above will not surprise close watchers of the Latin American Internet, and it certainly fits with CPJ's own observations there. The real meat of this article, though, lies in the examples. From decades old videos of famous censored Argentine satire to a brief glimpse of the world of Mexican botnets (a collection of hijacked computers used remotely by criminals), it's a compelling and informative read. Check out part one, an overview of the idea of Internet regulation; part two, a survey of intermediary liability cases in the region; and part three, which offers a closer look at direct Net censorship in Latin America, as well as brief glances at Net neutrality, privacy and cybercrime.
New York, August 23, 2010--The alleged mastermind in the 2009 murder of Venezuelan journalist Orel Sambrano, at left, was arrested Thursday in Colombia and is now facing extradition to Venezuela, local and international press reported.
Colombian authorities arrested Walid Makled García in the city of Cúcuta, near the border with Venezuela, according to news reports. A warrant was issued in 2008 for Makled in Venezuela on drug trafficking charges. Venezuelan authorities issued warrants for him last year in connection to Sambrano's murder and for allegedly participating in the 2009 killing of a local veterinarian, The Associated Press reported.
New York, August 18, 2010--A Venezuelan court's decision to ban print media from publishing images of violence is an attempt to censor news coverage of widespread crime in the weeks leading up to the September 26 legislative elections, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.