Press Rights in Latin America — A Fading Concept

Currently, the Latin American press is up against formidable odds. Local drug cartels, street gangs,

and government corruption are severely confining the ability of the

press to report freely on a range of controversial subjects. Restricted

reporting and the practice of “soft censorship” lurk behind the scene

where government censorship could be a dangerous notion, not just for

individual countries but also for overall U.S.-Latin American

relations. If the press remains trapped in the grip of organized crime, threatened by drug cartels and governmental venality, then the quality of life throughout Latin America

will be negatively affected. There are two primary routes in which the

press succumbs to censorship: directly, as a result of government

intimidation, and through gang violence; or indirectly, which includes

self-censorship out of fear, lack of professional solidarity from one’s

jou rnalistic peers or a supportive management, and a deficiency of

reliable investigative journalism due to an infinite capacity for self intimidation.

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This analysis was prepared by Research Associates Andy Blair and Ashley Wagner

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