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Press Freedom News and Views

José Barbeito

José Barbeito, research associate for CPJ's Americas Program, is an Argentine native. He has a bachelor’s degree in law and is pursuing a master’s degree in media studies at The New School University. Follow him on Facebook @ CPJ en Español.

Santiago's funeral. (Reuters)
The major daily in the war-wracked Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez, El Diario, surprised media around the globe on Saturday when it published an unusual editorial that openly compromises the paper's coverage in order to preserve its journalists' lives.

Under the headline, "What do you want from us?," the editorial pleads for the cartels to stop killing journalists, and asks them to clarify what journalists are allowed to publish in order to avoid adding to the long list of reporters killed in Mexico in the last decade. In a bold move, the paper addresses the cartels directly, and even recognizes their power in Ciudad Juárez. "You are the de facto authorities in this city, since our legitimate representatives have been unable to prevent our colleagues from being killed," the editorial reads in Spanish.
Blog | CPJ

We're pleased to launch CPJ's official Facebook page in Spanish, CPJ en Español. We hope to engage our followers throughout Latin America in an ongoing conversation about press freedom challenges in the region.

The government barred some news coverage of the first round of voting, won by Juan Manuel Santos. (AP/Fernando Vergara)

Among the regulations for Colombia’s presidential election on Sunday, the government barred the press from publishing Election Day news about alleged voter harassment or other irregularities unless it was confirmed by an official source. Local press groups said the rule limited important information on the very sort of illegal actions that have beset Colombian elections in the past. Juan Manuel Santos, a former defense minister and ally of President Álvaro Uribe, outpaced Green Party candidate Antanas Mockus by a wide margin in the Sunday balloting but fell short of a majority, sending the race to a June 20 runoff.

Payolibre.com

When I asked Cuban journalist Oscar Sánchez Madan to describe in one sentence his three years in jail, he told me: “I don’t wish on anybody the dreadful experience I had in prison.” A municipal court in Unión de Reyes, province of Matanzas, freed him on Sunday after he completed a three-year prison term. Around 6 a.m., the journalist, at left, picked up his clothes and other personal belongings and left Combinado del Sur, a prison for common criminals in Matanzas, northern Cuba. He also took along with him the cruel memories of his time behind bars.
(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.

Judge Raúl Rosales Mora and his gun. (Caretas)

Caretas, the leading newsweekly magazine in Perú, has a shocking photograph on its February 18 cover: a local judge aiming a gun at one of the publication’s reporters. Photojournalist Carlos Saavedra was on a stakeout trying to photograph Judge Raúl Rosales Mora when the incident occurred on February 13, according to CPJ interviews and local news reports.  

The magazine was working on a story about a controversial decision by Rosales, who had recently favored the appointment of a polemical judge to the country’s Constitutional Tribunal, the Peruvian press reported.

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