Americas

2011


Letters   |   Honduras

Honduras must investigate attacks on press

Dear President Lobo: The Committee to Protect Journalists is writing to express its deep concern about the unrelenting violence against the Honduran press. Our letter to you is prompted by events earlier this month that once again highlight the extraordinary risks that Honduran journalists must take simply to do their jobs.

December 19, 2011 3:24 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Honduras

Radio journalist gunned down in Honduras

New York, December 7, 2011--Honduran journalist Luz Marina Paz Villalobos was shot and killed in the capital Tegucigalpa on Tuesday, according to local news reports. Delmer Osmar Canales Gutiérrez, a cousin who worked as her driver, was also killed in the attack. Investigators are looking into several possible motives, including Paz's journalism.

Alerts   |   Mexico

Mexican daily offices attacked by gunmen

New York, November 15, 2011--A group of unidentified gunmen attacked the premises of the Mexican daily El Siglo de Torreón early this morning, setting a car on fire and shooting at the building several times.

Around 2:40 a.m., at least three assailants parked two vehicles in front of the newspaper's offices in the city of Torreón in the northern state of Coahuila, the paper reported. They set one of the cars on fire in front of El Siglo's main door and left in the other. Before fleeing, the gunmen used assault rifles to spray the premises with about 20 bullets that police recovered at the scene, editor Javier Garza told CPJ. One of the offices suffered some damage, but there were no injuries, he said. Federal and state police, as well as members of the Mexican army, arrived at the scene shortly after the attack.

November 15, 2011 3:44 PM ET

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Statements   |   Ecuador

CPJ to hold Ecuadoran authorities accountable for threats

New York, November 11, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by reported death threats against César Ricaurte, head of the Ecuadoran press freedom group Fundamedios, which follow a concerted campaign by local authorities to discredit the group and foster a climate of intimidation against independent media and local press freedom activists.
November 11, 2011 2:03 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Peru

Peru frees journalist jailed for defamation

New York, October 31, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release on Saturday of Peruvian journalist Paul Segundo Garay Ramírez, a television and radio news show host who had been imprisoned for more than six months. Citing flawed evidence, the Supreme Court on Friday overturned Garay's conviction on charges of defaming a prosecutor in Coronel Portillo, according to news reports.

October 31, 2011 3:23 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Colombia

Colombian editor given suspended prison term

New York, October 13, 2011--A court in Cundinamarca state handed Luis Agustín González, founder and editor of Colombian monthly newspaper Cundinamarca Democrática, a 20-month suspended sentence and a fine of approximately US$5,500 on charges of criminal libel, news reports said today. The sentence stemmed from an editorial González wrote in 2008 that questioned the candidacy of a local politician. 

October 13, 2011 4:52 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Guyana

Guyana president suspends television station

Guyana President Bharrat Jagdeo has suspended a TV station for four months. (Reuters)

New York, October 6, 2011--Guyanese president Bharrat Jagdeo has suspended television station CNS6 from broadcasting for four months in the period leading up to the presidential elections, according to local news reports. The suspension stemmed from a May 4 broadcast that aired comments about a local bishop who is a close associate of the president, news reports said.

"We are alarmed that President Bharrat Jagdeo has decided to suspend television station CNS6," said CPJ's Americas Senior Program Coordinator Carlos Lauría. "All Guyanese media must be allowed to report the news freely before the presidential election so that citizens can access information from multiple sources."

October 6, 2011 4:16 PM ET

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Statements   |   Ecuador

Ecuadoran appeals court upholds libel conviction

New York, September 20, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is dismayed by an Ecuadoran appeals court ruling today upholding a criminal libel conviction against four El Universo newspaper managers in a case brought by President Rafael Correa. 

Alerts   |   Brazil

Radio journalist shot to death in Brazil

Crowds turned out for the funeral of local journalist Valderlei Canuto Leandro. (Blog Da Floresta)

New York, September 12, 2011--Brazilian authorities must thoroughly investigate the September 1 murder of a Brazilian radio journalist who was known for his criticism of local authorities and had allegedly been threatened with death by a local mayor, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

September 12, 2011 3:22 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Argentina

Menem misuses privacy claim, CPJ says in IACHR brief

Carlos Saúl Menem, former president of Argentina. (AP)

New York, September 12, 2011--A lawsuit alleging invasion of privacy brought by Argentina's former president, Carlos Saúl Menem, against two journalists with the local newsweekly Noticias violates Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights, the Committee to Protect Journalists said in a legal brief filed Friday before the Costa Rica-based Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

This is the first case brought in the Inter-American system that involves a privacy claim stemming from a report on matters of public concern. CPJ believes it is vital for the court to set a precedent of protecting journalists' rights at a time when leaders in Latin America and around the world are using a barrage of legal actions to stifle critical reporting.

Alerts   |   Cuba

Cuba pulls veteran correspondent's credentials

New York, September 7, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the Cuban government's decision to not renew press credentials held by a 20-year veteran correspondent for the Spanish daily El País and radio network Cadena SER. Mauricio Vicent, whose access to official events had been restricted by the government for the past year, is now prohibited from reporting stories from Cuba, according to El País

September 7, 2011 3:48 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Venezuela

Venezuelan weekly reopens, executives still charged

New York, August 30, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by ongoing criminal cases against two executives from the Venezuelan newspaper 6to Poder, but welcomes a judge's decision to allow the weekly to resume publishing. The paper's owner and a top executive were charged last week with inciting hatred, insulting a public official, and publicly denigrating women.

August 30, 2011 4:09 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Mexico

Body of abducted journalist found in Mexico

New York, August 25, 2011--The body of Mexican journalist Humberto Millán Salazar was found early today in a field in the state of Sinaloa near the state capital, Culiacán, with a gunshot wound in the head, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Authorities said the journalist was abducted early yesterday by men in two SUVs who intercepted him on his way to work.

August 25, 2011 5:20 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Venezuela

Venezuelan newspaper shut, executives charged

New York, August 24, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the closure of the Venezuelan newspaper 6to Poder after a judge ruled on Monday that the weekly cease distribution. The newspaper's owner and a top executive were charged with incitement to hatred, insulting a public official, and publicly denigrating women after the paper published a satirical article on government officials, local press reports said.

August 24, 2011 5:17 PM ET

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Statements   |   Colombia

Uribe labels journalists "terrorism sympathizers"

New York, August 24, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about comments made by former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez that could endanger journalists Juan Forero and Claudia Julieta Duque and jeopardize press freedom in the country. Forero is the Washington Post's Andean region correspondent and Duque is a journalist who works in Colombia.

Letters   |   Peru

Peru must take steps to decriminalize defamation

Dear President Humala: We congratulate you on your first week in office as president of Peru and would like to take this opportunity to urge you to sign into law a recent bill passed by Congress that eliminates prison terms for defamation, an important first step toward the decriminalization of libel in your country. At a time when archaic criminal defamation laws are being used by officials to punish critical reporters, we call on you to uphold your pledge to protect freedom of expression by signing this bill and promoting the necessary changes toward a complete decriminalization of libel, leaving redress for this offense to civil courts.

Alerts   |   Brazil

Political journalist murdered in Brazil

New York, July 27, 2011--Veteran political reporter Auro Ida was shot and killed on Friday in the city of Cuiabá in the central west state of Mato Grosso, according to the local press. The well-known journalist had served as the city government's press secretary, was a founder of the news site Midianews, and wrote an opinion column for another news website, Olhar Direto. The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Brazilian authorities today to thoroughly investigate his murder and bring those responsible to justice.
July 27, 2011 3:46 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ecuador

Ecuadoran editor and executives sentenced to prison

President Correa won his defamation suit but is appealing for more damages. (AP/Dolores Ochoa)

New York, July 21, 2011--An editor and three executives from the Ecuadoran news daily El Universo were sentenced to three years in prison and $40 million in fines on Wednesday for defaming President Rafael Correa, according to local news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the sentence today and called on Ecuadoran authorities to bring the country's press law into compliance with international standards on freedom of expression. 

Statements   |   Ecuador

CPJ alarmed by defamation sentence in Ecuador

New York, July 21, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists strongly condemns a sentence issued Wednesday in a libel case brought by Ecuador's president which sets an alarming precedent for suppressing free expression. The sentence, which is being appealed, calls for three years imprisonment each for three executives and an editor, in addition to $40 million in fines.

Alerts   |   Honduras

Provincial journalist murdered in Honduras

New York, July 18, 2011--Journalist Nery Geremías Orellana was shot and killed Thursday in the western state of Lempira, near Honduras' border with El Salvador, according to local news reports. Orellana was the manager of the local radio station Radio Joconguera and a correspondent for Christian-oriented station Radio Progreso. He was also an active member of the National Front of Popular Resistance (FNRP), an organization that formed in opposition to the 2009 coup d'état in Honduras, the group said

July 19, 2011 10:01 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Brazil

Five suspects arrested in murder of Brazilian editor

New York, July 8, 2011---The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the arrest on Saturday of five suspects in the murder of Brazilian newspaper editor, politician, and blogger Edinaldo Filgueira, who was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen on June 15 in the town of Serra do Mel in the northeastern state of Rio Grande do Norte.

July 8, 2011 4:19 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Colombia

Provincial journalist shot to death in Colombia

New York, July 5, 2011--Luis Eduardo Gómez, a Colombian freelance journalist who was a witness for an investigation into links between politicians and paramilitary groups, was shot and killed on Thursday in the town of Arboletes, in the northwestern province of Antioquia, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Colombian authorities today to thoroughly investigate his murder and bring those responsible to justice. 

July 5, 2011 5:27 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Mexico

Prominent Mexican columnist, wife, son shot to death

Police outside the home of slain columnist Miguel Ángel López Velasco. His wife and son were also murdered. (AP/Felix Marquez)

New York, June 20, 2011--A prominent Mexican newspaper columnist, his wife, and a son were shot to death in their home in Veracruz, according to state investigators, a shocking assault that underscores the country's ongoing crisis. The administration of President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa must take decisive action to end to the cycle of violence undermining Mexico's democracy, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.    

Alerts   |   Colombia

Colombian journalist escapes being doused in gasoline

New York, June 6, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Colombian authorities today to thoroughly investigate the attempted murder of the director of a provincial television station in Colombia. Mario Esteban López Ortega, known for his criticism of local authorities, escaped an assassination attempt on Tuesday after he was abducted in the city of Ipiales, Nariño province.

June 6, 2011 4:28 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Mexico

Missing journalist found dead in Mexico

New York, June 2, 2011--With the news that the body of Noel López Olguín, a Mexican reporter who went missing in March, was found on Tuesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists called on Mexican authorities to thoroughly investigate his murder. López was found Tuesday buried in a clandestine grave in the city of Chinameca, in the state of Veracruz, according to local news reports.

June 2, 2011 2:12 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Peru

Attacks on the press rise before Peruvian election

A worker inspects ballots with images of presidential candidates in Peru. (AP/Martin Mejia)

New York, June 1, 2011--In the last month, at least eight Peruvian journalists were physically attacked, threatened, or verbally harassed in response to their coverage of the June 5 presidential race, according to regional press groups and local media. Most of the culprits appear to be supporters of each of the presidential candidates.

June 1, 2011 5:50 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Mexico

Drug trafficker confesses to killing missing Mexican reporter

New York, June 1, 2011--A drug gang leader confessed on Sunday to killing Mexican reporter Noel López Olguín, a columnist for a small newspaper in the state of Veracruz who went missing in March, according to local press reports. Gustavo Salas, the Mexican federal attorney general's special prosecutor for crimes against freedom of expression, told CPJ on Tuesday that his office is taking up the case.

June 1, 2011 5:45 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Honduras

One media executive killed in Honduras, another wounded

New York, May 25, 2011-- In two recent shooting attacks, a Honduran media owner has been killed and a newspaper manager wounded. Honduras authorities must put an end to the record level of violence against the press, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.   

Alerts   |   Guatemala

Provincial TV journalist found dead in Guatemala

(Prensa Libre)

New York, May 20, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Guatemalan authorities to launch a thorough investigation into the death of television journalist and teacher Yensi Roberto Ordoñez Galdámez, at left, who was found dead Thursday in southern Escuintla province.  

According to press reports, Ordoñez's body was discovered Thursday in a black vehicle parked outside the primary school where he taught. He had knife wounds in the neck and chest, according to the volunteer firefighters who found him. 

May 20, 2011 5:35 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Venezuela

Newspaper columnist shot to death in Venezuela

New York, May 20, 2011--Wilfred Iván Ojeda, a Venezuelan newspaper columnist and politician, was shot to death on Tuesday in the city of La Victoria, Aragua state, according to press reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists urged authorities today to fully investigate the murder and bring all those responsible to justice.

May 20, 2011 1:23 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Peru

Critical radio host shot to death in Peru

New York, May 5, 2011--A Peruvian provincial radio host known for his harsh criticism of local authorities was shot to death on Tuesday in the northern city of Virú, the local press reported. The Committee to Protect Journalists urged authorities to investigate the murder, establish whether the motive was related to his work, and bring the perpetrators to justice. 

May 5, 2011 3:28 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ecuador

Ecuadoran provincial reporter jailed on defamation charges

New York, May 2, 2011--Provincial Ecuadoran radio journalist Walter Vite Benítez was sentenced Wednesday to one year imprisonment on criminal defamation charges stemming from a critical comment about the local mayor made three years ago. The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Ecuadoran authorities to release Vite and bring the country's press law into compliance with international standards on freedom of expression. 

May 2, 2011 2:58 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Honduras

Honduran radio director ambushed by gunmen

New York, April 29, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Honduran authorities today to offer full protection to Radio Uno Director Arnulfo Aguilar after a group of gunman attempted to enter his home in the northwestern city of San Pedro Sula. The police delayed an hour in responding to Aguilar's distress call, according to press reports.

April 29, 2011 4:27 PM ET

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Alerts   |   El Salvador

Gunmen kill cameraman in El Salvador

New York, April 27, 2011--Veteran Salvadoran cameraman and photo editor Alfredo Antonio Hurtado was shot dead by two unidentified men on Monday night while on a bus to San Salvador, where he worked. The Committee to Protect Journalists called on authorities to thoroughly investigate the killing and bring the perpetrators to justice. 

April 27, 2011 10:48 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Haiti

Haitian radio station destroyed in arson attack

New York, April 26, 2011--The Community to Protect Journalists condemned Thursday's arson attack on Haitian community radio station Tèt Ansanm Karis and called on local authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice. The blaze destroyed the station's offices and all equipment and left the northeastern city of Carice without a local radio station.

April 26, 2011 4:17 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Bolivia

Bolivian journalist dead; explosive cited

New York, April 22, 2011--David Niño de Guzmán, news director for the La Paz-based Agencia de Noticias Fides, was found dead on Thursday, the apparent victim of an explosive device, after being reported missing two days earlier. The Committee to Protect Journalists called on authorities today to thoroughly investigate the death.

April 22, 2011 12:27 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Cuba

Journalists face arrest, intimidation during Party Congress

New York, April 20, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by a string of recent arrests of journalists from the Havana-based news outlet Centro de Información Hablemos Press, preventing them from reporting on the Communist Party Congress held in Havana this week. CPJ called on the Cuban government to cease its persistent harassment of independent journalists and allow them to report freely.

Letters   |   Ecuador

Referendum threatens press freedom in Ecuador

President Correa: With a referendum approaching that may restrict news content and weaken news media companies, we are deeply concerned about Ecuador's commitment to freedom of expression. The vote, scheduled for May 7, will ask Ecuadorans several questions on a range of issues. The 10-point ballot includes, among other things, creation of a council to regulate media content and a prohibition against media companies having holdings in other industries.

April 18, 2011 11:35 AM ET

Alerts   |   Brazil

Critical Brazilian TV journalist shot dead

New York, April 11, 2011--Brazilian authorities must thoroughly investigate the slaying of radio and television journalist Luciano Leitão Pedrosa, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Pedrosa, known for his critical coverage of local authorities and criminal groups, was shot Saturday night at a restaurant in Vitória de Santo Antão in northeastern Pernambuco state, according to press reports.

April 11, 2011 2:37 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Cuba

Ending dark era, Cuba frees last jailed journalist

Newly freed Cuban political prisoners arrive in Spain. (AFP/Pierre-Philippe Marcou)

New York, April 8, 2011--The Cuban government on Thursday released the last journalist remaining in its prisons, ending a dark, eight-year-long era in which the island nation was one of the world's worst jailers of the press, at one time imprisoning nearly 30 independent reporters and writers. The Committee to Protect Journalists expressed relief today that Albert Santiago Du Bouchet Hernández has been freed, a milestone in an intensive, international advocacy effort led by the Catholic Church, the Spanish government, and international press and human rights groups.

Alerts   |   Ecuador

CPJ condemns closure of provincial radio station in Ecuador

New York, April 5, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the closure of a provincial Ecuadoran radio station and calls on local regulators to allow the station to resume broadcasting. Voz de la Selva Esmeralda Oriental Canela radio, known for its critical coverage of local authorities, had appealed an order to close the station on bogus administrate violations, according to CPJ research. The appeal was still pending when police shut it down. 

April 5, 2011 4:17 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ecuador

Ecuadoran president sues critical news daily for defamation

New York, March 31, 2011--The critical Ecuadoran daily El Universo, three of its executives, and its opinion editor could face jail time and hefty fines in a defamation complaint filed by President Rafael Correa last week. Correa should immediately drop the defamation suit and bring the country's press law into compliance with international standards on freedom of expression, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.   

Alerts   |   Argentina

Argentina should halt obstruction of top dailies

New York, March 29, 2011--The Argentine government should ensure that the nation's two largest dailies can be distributed without interference, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. CPJ's appeal comes two days after union demonstrators blocked trucking exits at the printing facilities of Clarín and La Nación, preventing Clarín from distributing its Sunday edition. 

March 29, 2011 4:26 PM ET

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Alerts   |   El Salvador

In El Salvador, 11 sentenced in filmmaker's 2009 slaying

AFP

New York, March 10, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes Wednesday's sentencing of 11 defendants in the brutal 2009 slaying of Christian Poveda, left, a French photojournalist and filmmaker who had spent decades documenting gang violence in El Salvador. Twenty other suspects, accused of being accomplices, were acquitted. 

March 10, 2011 4:49 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Cuba

Last Black Spring reporter freed; one still jailed in Cuba

New York, March 7, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release of Cuban independent journalist Pedro Argüelles Morán on Friday, and calls on Cuban authorities to eliminate all conditions on his freedom. Argüelles Morán, at left, was the last of 29 reporters arrested during a 2003 massive government crackdown on dissent to be allowed to leave jail, on parole. 

March 7, 2011 3:13 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Argentina

Supreme Court tells Argentina to avoid bias in allocating ads

New York, March 4, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists hails a ruling by Argentina's Supreme Court that calls for the omission of discriminatory criteria and "reasonable balance" in the allocation of state advertising. The ruling stems from a 2006 injunction filed by Editorial Perfil, the country's largest magazine publisher, claiming arbitrary distribution of official advertising.

March 4, 2011 1:33 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Panama, Spain

Critical Spanish journalists expelled from Panama

New York, March 2, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the Panamanian government to allow two Spanish journalists and human rights activists who were expelled to return to the country. The journalists were covering and documenting an indigenous demonstration on Saturday when they were detained by authorities and accused of "disrupting public order" according to an official statement

Alerts   |   Cuba

Cuban journalist released on parole; two remain behind bars

New York, February 22, 2011--Iván Hernández Carrillo, a Cuban journalist imprisoned since March 2003, was released on parole Saturday and permitted to remain in the country, bringing to 19 the number of reporters and editors freed after an agreement between the President Raúl Castro and the Catholic Church. The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Cuban authorities today to lift all conditions on Hernández Carrillo's release and to free the two journalists that remain imprisoned on the island.

February 22, 2011 4:42 PM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, USA, Venezuela

Attacks on the Press 2010: Americas Analysis

In Latin America, A Return of Censorship

The Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional leaves white space for an image the government won't allow. (Reuters/Jorge Silva)

By Carlos Lauría

As the preeminent political family in the northeastern state of Maranhão for more than 40 years, the Sarneys are used to getting their way in Brazilian civic life. So when the leading national daily O Estado de S. Paulo published allegations in June 2009 that linked José Sarney, the Senate president and the nation's former leader, to nepotism and corruption, the political clan did not sit idly by. The Sarneys turned to a judge in Brasília, winning an injunction that halted O Estado from publishing any more reports about the allegations. Eighteen months later, as 2010 came to a close, the ban remained in effect despite domestic and international outcry.

February 15, 2011 12:54 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Argentina

Attacks on the Press 2010: Argentina

Top Developments
• Kirchner accuses two papers of colluding with the military dictatorship in 1976.
• Legislation would restrict media ownership in newsprint companies.

Key Statistic
400: Pages in government report that claims Clarín and La Nación media groups conspired with dictators.


President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's administration accused top executives of the country's two leading newspapers, Clarín and La Nación, of conspiring with the former military regime to commit crimes against humanity, allegations that dramatically escalated existing government-media tensions. In making a claim as controversial as it was aggressive, Kirchner called on the courts to decide whether the newspapers colluded with the dictatorship to force the sale of a newsprint supplier in 1976. The clash deepened divisions within the press itself, as journalists took sides on administration policies and tactics. Political talk shows on state-owned media lambasted government critics in the press. The space for balanced and unbiased journalism was significantly reduced, analysts said.

February 15, 2011 12:48 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Brazil

Attacks on the Press 2010: Brazil

Top Developments
• Judicial censorship rampant; order bars paper from covering corruption allegations.
• Convictions won in journalist's murder as Brazil makes strides against impunity.

Key Statistic
398: Demands to remove online content made by Brazilian authorities to Google in the first six months of 2010.


Continuing a pattern of extensive censorship imposed from the bench, regional judges banned dozens of news outlets from covering some of the most important topics of the day, including issues involving the October general election, good governance, and public integrity. The national daily O Estado de S. Paulo faced a censorship order throughout the year that prevented the paper and its website from reporting on a corruption investigation involving the family of Senate President José Sarney. A provincial reporter was murdered in reprisal for his work, while other reporters and media workers operating outside large urban centers faced attacks as they covered politics and corruption.

February 15, 2011 12:44 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Colombia

Attacks on the Press 2010: Colombia

Top Developments
• Progress slow in probe of illegal espionage that targeted journalists.
• One journalist murdered. Deadly violence slows, but danger remains.

Key Statistic
4: Provincial reporters forced into exile due to threats.


President Álvaro Uribe Vélez ended his two terms in office with a decidedly mixed press freedom record. CPJ research charted a drop in lethal violence during his administration: Eight reporters were killed in direct relation to their work in his first two years in office, while six died over the remaining six years of his tenure. The government has cited a journalist protection program and an improved overall security climate as reasons.

February 15, 2011 12:40 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Cuba

Attacks on the Press 2010: Cuba

Top Developments
• Cuba relents on political detainees, frees 17 journalists. Four still held.
• In exile, freed journalists face economic, professional difficulties.

Key Statistic
45: Poems that journalist and former detainee Ricardo González Alfonso smuggled from prison.


After years of intensive advocacy and international diplomacy, 17 independent journalists swept up in the government's 2003 Black Spring crackdown were finally freed from an unjust and inhumane imprisonment. The Roman Catholic Church, with participation from Spanish officials, struck an agreement in July with the government of President Raúl Castro Ruz that called for the release of all 52 prisoners still being held seven years after the massive crackdown on political dissent and independent journalism. The deal as outlined by the church called for the release of all Black Spring detainees within four months, but three journalists and several other dissidents, apparently balking at Cuba's insistence that they leave the country in exchange for their freedom, remained in jail in late year. A fourth journalist, arrested in 2009, also remained in prison.

February 15, 2011 12:39 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Ecuador

Attacks on the Press 2010: Ecuador

Top Developments
• Journalists attacked, broadcasters censored during police uprising.
• Correa administration orders broadcasters to air official rebuttals.

Key Statistic
6: Hours during which broadcasters were told to suspend programming, carry state news reports on police revolt.


President Rafael Correa's administration used censorship powers throughout the year to supplant independent news and commentary. Authorities compelled critical broadcasters to interrupt news shows to air official rebuttals. And in September, when hundreds of police officers staged violent nationwide protests over plans to reduce their bonus pay, the Communications Ministry ordered broadcasters to halt their own news reports and carry programming from state-owned Ecuador TV.

February 15, 2011 12:37 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Haiti

Attacks on the Press 2010: Haiti

Top Developments
• Journalists persevere after quake, working from tents and homes.
• Dozens of reporters jobless. Print media sustain heavy losses.

Key Statistic
95: Percent of radio stations knocked off the air by the January earthquake. Most had returned by late year.


Reflecting the devastation across all of Haitian society, the news media suffered massive losses in the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck just west of the capital, Port-au-Prince, on the afternoon of January 12. More than 220,000 people died and 1.5 million were left homeless, according to official estimates. Government offices, schools, hospitals, and entire neighborhoods were reduced to ruins, as was most of the infrastructure supporting Haitian news media. More than 95 percent of commercial and community radio stations--the primary source of news in Haiti--went off the air as their equipment and premises sustained heavy damage, according to Joseph Guyler Delva, president of the local press freedom group SOS Journalistes. The human losses were great as well: At least 30 journalists died in the earthquake and its immediate aftermath, SOS Journalistes reported.

February 15, 2011 12:34 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Honduras

Attacks on the Press 2010: Honduras

Top Developments
• Rash of journalist murders occurs in lawless, politically charged climate.
• In murder investigations, authorities inattentive and dismissive.

Key Statistic
3: Months between Nahúm Palacios Arteaga's murder and the time authorities conducted an autopsy.


Six journalists were murdered in a seven-week span, with three more slain by year's end, a rash of killings that was made all the more shocking by the government's careless and dismissive response. Inattentive and botched investigative work yielded the arrests of but two suspects in all of the killings, and a judge quickly dismissed charges against them. CPJ found that at least three of the victims were slain in direct relation to their work, and it continued to investigate the other cases in late year.

February 15, 2011 12:33 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Mexico

Attacks on the Press 2010: Mexico

Top Developments
• Amid rampant violence, Calderón backs federalization of anti-press crimes.
• More than 30 journalists killed or disappeared since Calderón's term began.

Key Statistic
4: Journalists abducted in Durango by gangsters who demand that TV stations air their propaganda.


Organized crime groups exerted fierce pressure on the Mexican press as their control spread across vast regions and nearly every aspect of society. Pervasive self-censorship by news media in areas under drug traffickers' influence was a devastating consequence of violence and intimidation. Ten journalists were killed, at least three in direct relation to their work, and three other reporters disappeared. In addition, journalists were assaulted, kidnapped, or forced into exile, while media outlets were targeted by bomb attacks, making Mexico one of the world's deadliest places for the press. After meeting with a CPJ delegation, President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa pledged to push for legislation making attacks on free expression a federal crime, and announced the launch of a security program for at-risk reporters.

February 15, 2011 12:25 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   USA

Attacks on the Press 2010: United States

Top Developments
• U.S. military ignores call for probe into killings of 16 journalists in Iraq.
• Under Pearl Act, State Department will track press freedom worldwide.

Key Statistic
14: Journalists imprisoned by U.S. military forces for prolonged periods without charge between 2004 and 2010.


In two important advances, Congress passed legislation to track press freedom worldwide while military forces released an Iraqi journalist who had been held without charge for 17 months. But officials obstructed a photojournalist covering the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and reporters documenting military judicial proceedings at Guantánamo Bay, in Cuba. A U.S. military video, disclosed by the website WikiLeaks, raised questions as to whether U.S. troops acted properly when they shot and killed an Iraqi journalist and his assistant in 2007.

February 15, 2011 12:07 AM ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Venezuela

Attacks on the Press 2010: Venezuela

Top Developments
• Censorship spikes: RCTV banished again, newspapers barred from using crime images.
• New laws restrict Internet content, tighten control over broadcast licenses.

Key Statistic
1,300: Hours of presidential speeches that were aired between 1999 and 2010.


Using all the tools of power, President Hugo Chávez Frías continued his aggressive campaign to silence critical news media. In the waning days of a lame-duck National Assembly, the Chávez administration pushed through measures to restrict Internet content and tighten control over broadcast licenses. Relying on politicized courts, the government barred two major newspapers from publishing images of crime and violence in the run-up to September legislative elections. And through a series of politically motivated regulatory actions, the administration intimidated one critical broadcaster, Globovisión, and banished another, RCTV International.

February 15, 2011 12:05 AM ET

Alerts   |   Cuba

Journalist released on parole, allowed to stay in Cuba

Freed journalist Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez embraces his wife, Laura Pollán, leader of Cuban dissident group Ladies in White, in his home in Havana. (AP/Franklin Reyes)

New York, February 14, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Cuban authorities today to place no conditions on the release of journalist Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez, who was freed on parole Saturday. Maseda Gutiérrez is a founding member of the independent news agency Grupo de Trabajo Decoro and a winner of CPJ's International Press Freedom Award in 2008.

Alerts   |   Cuba

Cuba's Maseda Gutiérrez balks at conditions for freedom

New York, February 11, 2011--The Catholic Church in Havana announced today that jailed Cuban journalist Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez, a CPJ International Press Freedom Awardee, at left, would be released after nearly eight years behind bars. But news reports, including one citing the journalist's wife, said Maseda Gutiérrez has balked at conditions placed on his release and at the continued detention of other political dissidents.

Alerts   |   Guatemala

Guatemalan journalist threatened after corruption probe

New York, February 9, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the safety of Guatemalan television journalist Oscar de León, who has received multiple death threats and had his van shot at in the southwestern municipality of Quetzaltenango, according to news reports and CPJ interviews. De León, a correspondent for the private national Guatevisión TV network, said he has received the threats since he probed alleged police corruption.

February 9, 2011 4:19 PM ET

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Letters   |   Cuba, Spain

Press Cuba to keep promise to free journalists

Dear President Rodríguez Zapatero: The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed that the Cuban government has yet to fulfill its promise to free all journalists imprisoned during the 2003 crackdown on dissent. We urge your government, which was a key party to the agreement to release the prisoners by November 2010, to hold President Raúl Castro to his word.

Alerts   |   Ecuador

Ecuador interrupts news show to air official rebuttals

New York, February 2, 2011--Ecuadoran authorities interrupted a news program critical of the Ecuadoran government on Monday to air an official rebuttal, a practice that has become standard in the administration of President Rafael Correa, according to research by the Committee to Protect Journalists. CPJ calls on Ecuadoran authorities to stop this practice, which has a chilling effect on public discourse.   

February 2, 2011 2:00 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Dominican Republic

Dominican police, firing pellets, wound reporter

New York, February 2, 2011--Dominican police wounded journalist Francisco Frías Morel on Friday as he was covering a funeral procession for a youth killed in a police shooting in the northeastern city of Nagua, according to news reports and CPJ interviews. The Committee to Protect Journalists called on local authorities to conduct a thorough investigation and to hold those responsible to account. 

February 2, 2011 1:55 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ecuador

Ecuador must return property seized from newsmagazine

New York, January 18, 2011--Ecuadoran authorities have been holding computers and equipment belonging to the critical newsmagazine Vanguardia since a police raid on its offices a month ago. The Committee to Protect Journalists has concluded the seizure was reprisal for the magazine's editorial positions and calls on authorities to return the property.  

January 18, 2011 12:02 PM ET

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Letters   |   China, USA

CPJ asks Obama to raise jailed Chinese journalists with Hu

Dear President Obama: The Committee to Protect Journalists is writing to you in advance of Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to the United States in January to urge you to raise press freedom issues during your talks. We ask that you make clear the depth of U.S. concern that China is the world's leading jailer of journalists.

January 11, 2011 4:46 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Ecuador

Ecuadoran radio denied license renewal on bogus charges

New York, January 5, 2011--An Ecuadoran provincial radio station known for its criticism of local authorities was denied its license renewal based on bogus administrative violations, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Ecuadoran regulators must allow the station to report the news freely, CPJ said. 
January 5, 2011 4:57 PM ET

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