CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Argentina

Blog   |   Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Internet, Mexico, Venezuela

Online freedom of expression in Latin America

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.

November 2, 2010 3:12 PM ET

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Blog   |   Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Belarus, Iraq, Pakistan

Murder, 'suicide,' crossfire: A week of journalist killings

Today we will report another murder of a journalist. This one was in Argentina. The last one we documented was a couple days ago--Alberto Graves Chakussanga was shot in the back in Angola. These tragedies are part of our daily work at CPJ, but this week was different. There have been eight killings of journalists around the globe since September 3, an unusually high number during my three years as an editor here.
September 10, 2010 12:56 PM ET

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Blog   |   Argentina, Internet

NYT: In Argentina, Google and Yahoo Not Liable

The New York Times reports on a new decision in the liability of internet intermediaries, this time in Argentia. It's often hard to pick apart exactly what's been going on in jurisdictions where this issue still evolving. Generally, you get a flurry of conflicting court decision in favour of absolute liability for Net middle-men, usually followed by a re-appraisal by calmer minds once the ramifications of having all the major web services effectively guilty for anything anyone ever said, anywhere online, begin to sink in.

In Argentina, the pattern seems to be that search engines were being sued by hundreds of litigants for the content and context of their results. In this particular case images (or the name) of an entertainer were being used by adult sites; she sued Yahoo and Google for defamation, and a lower court decided in her favor. Over at Ars Technica, commenter Pablius gives a link to the earlier decision (in Spanish; Google translation here).

Sure enough, the lower court declared that because search engines can filter specific content, then they are liable in all cases where they do not create such filters pre-emptively. The new decision overturns that. It may yet go to Argentina's Supreme Court.

The biggest risk in these times of flux isn't that these big corporations will be sued into oblivion; it's that the issue of liability continues to remain ambiguous. Panicky companies try to avoid being sued by over-censoring or filtering content, which chills the ability of individual bloggers and journalists to use the Net for unfiltered free speech.

August 28, 2010 3:35 AM ET

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Blog   |   Argentina

Argentine government feud with Clarín deepens

Clarín, seen here, is locked in a media war with Argentina's president. (AP)
A grave accusation by the administration of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner against Argentina's two leading newspapers, Clarín and La Nación, has prompted claims that the government is attempting to control the press, and stirred up a heated debate on the state of freedom of expression in the country. The administration is alleging that the papers colluded with a military regime more than three decades ago to force the sale of a newsprint supplier.

On Tuesday, Kirchner presented the findings of a government report titled "Papel Prensa: The Truth," a 400-page investigation on the history and economic activities of the newsprint manufacturer, according to local and international news reports. 
August 27, 2010 1:31 PM ET

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Blog   |   Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Peru

Fighting impunity with solidarity, unity, and a symbol

We will not make significant advances in the battle against crimes against journalists and the impunity surrounding them without the creation of a sense of unity and solidarity among a country’s news media and journalists. Nor will the cause advance without a strategy by international press freedom organizations to provide support for those two values.

Blog   |   Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica

Latin America takes steps against criminal defamation

(Elpais.com.co)

In an encouraging development, three courts in Colombia, Costa Rica, and Chile have recently followed the growing regional consensus against criminal defamation by dismissing criminal penalties against journalists accused of libel and slander.

The newsweekly magazine Semana reported that a piece written by Alfredo Molano, at left, in the op-ed pages of the Bogota-based daily El Espectador in February 2007 described how the members of a family in Cartagena and Valledupar had undue influence in private businesses and public offices in the country’s Caribbean region.

Blog   |   Argentina

Tomás Eloy Martínez, passionate press freedom advocate

Martínez (Reuters)

Argentine writer and journalist Tomás Eloy Martínez, who died on Monday after a long battle with cancer, was ranked among Latin America’s most prominent intellectuals. Best known for his novels about former President Juan Domingo Perón and his wife Eva, Martínez cared deeply about press freedom and was a passionate advocate who helped scores of Argentine reporters, and was actively involved in CPJ’s efforts to campaign on behalf on Cuban imprisoned journalists.

Martínez understood the difficulties journalists face while working on dangerous assignments or under repressive regimes. In 1975, he was forced to flee Argentina after serious threats from a right-wing paramilitary group. He lived in exile during the dictatorship era, and returned briefly to the country after democracy was restored in 1983.

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