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   |   Colombia

Fabricated attacks by Colombian journalists mask real dangers

Although Colombian journalists are frequently threatened by Marxist guerrillas, criminal gangs, and corrupt politicians trying to silence them, two recent cases that created widespread concern--including alerts from CPJ--were fabricated by the very reporters who claimed to have been targeted.

Blog   |   Venezuela

In Venezuela, Tal Cual under pressure but not defeated

Copies of Tal Cual are read in Caracas in 2007. The critical Venezuelan newspaper has been forced to downsize in an effort to survive. (AP/Leslie Mazoch)

Tal Cual, one of the few remaining Venezuelan newspapers critical of the government, is so shorthanded there's often no receptionist on hand to let people in. Visitors must bang on the front door until someone in the newsroom notices. That can take a while because there are hardly any editors or journalists left.

Blog   |   Nicaragua

Long silence from Nicaragua's president as first lady keeps press at arm's length

Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega with his wife, Rosario Murillo, at a memorial for Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in 2014. Independent journalists say Murillo controls press access to Ortega. (Reuters/Oswaldo Rivas)

It's been nearly 3,000 days since Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega last held a news conference, according to the opposition newspaper La Prensa. But when journalists complain about the lack of access to Ortega they often direct their ire not at the president but at the first lady, Rosario Murillo.

Blog   |   Nicaragua

Reporters covering Nicaragua waterway project obstructed by lack of information

HKND Group chairman Wang Jing celebrates the start of work on Nicaragua's interoceanic waterway in December. Reporters say little information has been released on the $50 billion project. (AFP/STR)

When Nicaragua began preliminary work on an interoceanic waterway designed to handle ships too big for the Panama Canal, some of the foreign correspondents who had flown in to cover the December groundbreaking were left high and dry.

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.

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