CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

John Otis

John Otis, CPJ's Andes correspondent for the Americas program, works as a correspondent for Time magazine and the Global Post. He authored the 2010 book Law of the Jungle, about U.S. military contractors kidnapped by Colombian rebels, and is based in Bogotá, Colombia.

Blog   |   Ecuador

How Ecuador's plans to make communications a public service is threat to free press

Newspapers on sale in Ecuador's capital, Quito. Proposals to classify communications as a public service have led to concerns over press freedom. (Reuters/Guillermo Granja)

Attempts to amend Ecuador's constitution to categorize communications as a "public service" has sparked a fierce debate, with one critic drawing comparisons to the way dictators such as Stalin and Hitler used the press as a propaganda tool, and supporters of President Rafael Correa's government arguing that the proposed reforms will make journalism more accountable and accessible.

January 20, 2015 5:57 PM ET

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Blog   |   Venezuela

News rationed as Venezuela seeks to control newsprint imports

Rolls of donated newsprint are delivered to papers in Caracas. The country's press is struggling to have supplies imported. The shortage has forced the daily Correo del Caroní to cut its page numbers. (AFP/Juan Barreto)

Venezuelan newspapers have traditionally handed out hundreds of courtesy copies in their lobbies and at hotels. But Correo del Caroní, an independent daily in the industrial city of Ciudad Guayana, treats every edition as if it were precious and now gives away just 14 copies, including one to the owner.

Blog   |   Venezuela

Venezuela's El Universal criticized for being tamed by mystery new owners

The headquarters of El Universal in Caracas. The daily, which had a reputation for being critical of the government, was sold in July 2014. (Reuters/Jorge Silva)

To illustrate how the once-critical Caracas daily El Universal has cozied up to Venezuela's socialist government in the wake of its sale in July, it helps to examine the newspaper's coverage of the current oil price plunge.

Blog   |   Ecuador

Life on the run in Amazon jungle for journalist charged with defaming president

For Ecuadoran journalist and political activist Fernando Villavicencio, life on the lam has meant wading through jungle rivers to avoid police checkpoints, dining on crocodile and monkey meat, and penning his latest book from a series of safe houses.

December 9, 2014 2:39 PM ET

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Blog   |   Bolivia

How Bolivia's vice president used media to control his image--and that of the government

Vice President Álvaro García Linera, left, and President Evo Morales, right, at a gas plant in Bolivia earlier this month. The pair were voted in for a third term on October 12. (AFP/Aizar Raldes)

Álvaro García Linera's savvy use of the media helped him make the leap from Marxist guerrilla to vice president of Bolivia. But critics contend that as the country's second-highest elected official, García Linera is now using his substantial power to manipulate and control the Bolivian news media.

October 20, 2014 5:12 PM ET

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Blog   |   Bolivia

Bolivia's president and state-run TV skip presidential election debate

President Evo Morales wasn't the only no show at Bolivia's lone presidential debate in the run-up to this Sunday's election. State-run Bolivia TV, which has provided live coverage of every presidential debate since the late 1980s, also ignored the September 28 candidate forum.

Blog   |   Bolivia

Journalist investigates Bolivia's 'silent campaign' for editorial control

At a bizarre news conference in April, Bolivia's Communications Minister Amanda Dávila claimed that journalist Raúl Peñaranda, who was born in Chile, represented a dangerous "beachhead" for Chilean interests trying to deny landlocked Bolivia access to the Pacific.

September 25, 2014 4:16 PM ET

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Blog   |   Peru

Peru Interior minister under investigation in 1988 journalist murder

Some of Peru's top government officials, including President Ollanta Humala, are former army officers who spent the 1980s fighting Maoist Shining Path guerrillas. Both sides committed massive human rights abuses, but now one particularly brutal episode is coming back to haunt the Humala administration.

July 9, 2014 10:10 AM ET

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Blog   |   Ecuador

Pressured by government, Ecuadoran cartoonist is forced to adjust

Called to testify before a government media oversight commission, editorial cartoonist Xavier Bonilla--known by his penname Bonil--showed up with a pair of four-foot-long mock pencils. But rather than having a small eraser on the tip, one of Bonil's giant pencils was nearly all eraser.

Blog   |   Ecuador

Ecuador newspaper shutters its presses, citing government pressure

Blaming government harassment and a related advertising slowdown, the daily newspaper Hoy ceased its Quito-based print edition Monday, and said it would transform into an online-only newspaper.

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