CPJ Blog

Press Freedom News and Views

Carlos Lauría

CPJ Senior Americas Program Coordinator Carlos Lauría, a native of Buenos Aires, is a widely published journalist who has written extensively for Noticias, the leading Spanish-language newsmagazine. Follow him on Facebook @ CPJ en Español.

Blog   |   Mexico

Mexican cartels keep up social media intimidation

A marcher stops to write a peace slogan during an August 2011 protest against Mexican violence. (AP)

The dissemination of reports and graphic photos of a dead man, reportedly decapitated and left in the border city of Nuevo Laredo with a warning that he was murdered for using a chat room, appears to be the latest attempt by organized crime to intimidate social media users and control the online agenda.

While it's impossible to know the man's identity, the reason for his death, or other details, the veracity of the reports and photos are nearly beside the point. In Mexico's current climate, where CPJ research shows criminal organizations control the information agenda in many cities, what matters is the success of such attempts to scare professional and, increasingly, citizen journalists.

November 11, 2011 10:25 AM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba

Recalling Laura Pollán, leader of Cuba's Ladies in White

Pollán leads the Ladies in White in March 2011. (AP/Javier Galeano)

Cuban human rights defender Laura Pollán, who died Friday from respiratory complications at a Havana hospital, fought a mighty battle against the Cuban government for almost a decade. Pollán, 63, leaves behind her husband, the award-winning independent journalist Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez, and a daughter. She also leaves a legacy of determination, courage, and creativity. Her powerful belief in justice was ultimately rewarded when dozens of wrongly imprisoned dissidents and journalists, including her husband, were freed from prison over the last two years, in large part due to her efforts.

October 17, 2011 2:36 PM ET

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Blog   |   Ecuador

In response, Ecuadoran secretary misses the point

A man protests a proposed communications law. (AP)

Back in April, before leaving on a research trip to Ecuador, I contacted Communications Secretary Fernando Alvarado by phone and email in hopes of meeting with him to discuss press freedom concerns that have emerged under President Rafael Correa. The secretary was among the high-ranking administration officials who did not respond to CPJ's requests for meetings or to our subsequent efforts to obtain comment for our special report, "Confrontation, repression under Correa's Ecuador." So it was interesting to see that a week after the report's launch in Quito that Alvarado wrote an open letter to CPJ on his personal blog.

September 13, 2011 5:50 PM ET

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Blog   |   Ecuador

In Ecuador, CPJ highlights press freedom decline

Lauría in Ecuador. (Fundamedios)

The turning point in President Rafael Correa's aggressive campaign against the private media, Ecuadoran journalists say, came in July with the criminal defamation convictions of four managers of the Guayaquil-based daily El Universo. Bad went to worse when the paper's former opinion editor and three of its executives were sentenced to jail and fined, along with their newspaper, a total of $40 million over a piece that called the president a "dictator." Emilio Palacio, who wrote the critical op-ed that infuriated Correa and motivated the lawsuit, fled the country last week after saying that he is being persecuted and justice will not be served. 

September 2, 2011 7:15 PM ET

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Blog   |   Peru

Peru candidates pledge to respect press freedom--will they?

A worker inspects ballots with images of presidential candidates in Peru. Keiko Fujimori will face Ollanta Humala in a presidential runoff on June 5. (AP/Martin Mejia)

Keiko Fujimori and Ollanta Humala, the two candidates for the June 5 presidential runoff in Peru, barely raised freedom of expression issues during the political campaign. So Friday's event organized by the regional press group Instituto Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS) in Lima provided a great opportunity to measure their commitment on press freedom, especially important for candidates with questionable democratic credentials.  

May 6, 2011 11:05 AM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba

A not so dark Cuban Black Spring anniversary

From left: Carlos Lauría, Antonio Muñoz Molina, Raúl Rivero, and Fernando González Urbaneja at CPJ's Madrid presentation of its report on the Black Spring, in March 2008.

March 18 is not a day we usually look forward to at CPJ. On this day in 2003, the Cuban government launched a massive crackdown on the independent press resulting in the jailing of 29 reporters. But this year we have reason to feel encouraged. On March 4, with the release of Pedro Argüelles Morán, the last of the Black Spring journalists was released. 

Blog   |   Cuba

After 'trial by fire,' Cuba's Maseda back to journalism

Maseda holds a document proving his release from prison next to his wife, Laura Pollán. (AP/Franklin Reyes)

Almost three weeks after being released from jail following eight years of inhumane treatment in Cuba's infamous prison system, CPJ's 2008 International Press Freedom award winner Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez said he is committed to going back to independent journalism. "That's my will, and I have decided to do it here in Havana," Maseda said in a telephone conversation from Cuba's capital.

March 3, 2011 12:44 PM ET

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Blog   |   Brazil

Brazilian officials tell CPJ they see judicial censorship

CPJ's Carlos Lauría meets with Antonio Cezar Peluso, president of the Brazil's Supreme Federal Tribunal. (CPJ)

Government officials in the administration of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff acknowledged that judicial censorship is inhibiting the work of the local press during meetings with CPJ on Thursday and Friday. At the same time, they said that due to the separation of powers under the Brazilian constitution, there is not much they can do to influence the judiciary.

February 23, 2011 5:44 PM ET

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Blog   |   Brazil

Attacks launch: Judicial censorship strikes a chord in Brazil

CPJ's launch of Attacks on the Press in Brazil garnered big media attention and brought about government meetings. (CPJ/ABRAJI)

During the presentation of our annual survey, Attacks on the Press, in Sao Paulo, there was clear concern about the ability of the local media to report on issues of public interest without judicial interference. Journalists for three of the largest national dailies--O Estado de Sao Paulo, Folha de Sao Paulo, and O Globo--together with reporters for Sao Paulo's main radio stations and a group of local advocates, gathered at the Blue Tree Hotel in the booming Brazilian city to hear perspective on the status of press freedom in the country.

February 17, 2011 12:09 PM ET

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Blog   |   Mexico

Aristegui's dismissal is troubling and inappropriate

Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui tells the media today she was fired from MVS for refusing to apologize for comments last week on her radio show. (AP/Alexandre Meneghini)

On Friday, opposition legislators in Mexico disrupted a congressional session by raising a banner with an image of President Felipe Calderón and a message that read: "Would you let a drunk drive your car? No, right? So why would you let one drive your country?" Radio MVS' Carmen Aristegui, one of Mexico's most popular journalists, addressed the issue on her weekly radio show, asking on the air whether Calderón should give a formal answer as to whether he had a drinking problem. MVS then fired Aristegui for allegedly violating the station's code of ethics.

February 9, 2011 4:58 PM ET

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