Committee to Protect Journalists
Country Report: Uruguay
As of December 31, 1998

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Uruguayan journalists report no major impediments to their work, but express concern about a punitive press law that punishes defamation with up to three years in prison. In May, Carlos Ardaix, host of a local radio news talk show in Tabere de Salto, was given a five-month suspended sentence after he read a letter on the air from a listener who accused a local obstetrician of malpractice. The case was dismissed in August.

Press groups have also raised objections to several new laws pending before Congress, including one that would require media outlets to publish articles about a defendant who is declared innocent with the same size headline used in the article that announced the arrest.

In a case that deeply divided journalists in Uruguay, Manuel and Felipe Flores Silva and Eduardo Alonso, editors at the weekly magazine Posdata, were arrested in April and held for nearly a month on charges of fraud and passing bad checks. The editors allege that their arrest was in reprisal for the magazine's aggressive reporting on police corruption, but prominent local journalists regard that explanation as an attempt to divert public attention from financial malfeasance.

| Attacks on the Press in 1998 |