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   |   Venezuela

After Venezuelan elections, Globovisión shows more defiant stance

The control room of Venezuelan station Globovisión. Since congressional elections in December, the news outlet has taken a tougher stance in its coverage. (AFP/Miguel Gutierrez)

When Venezuela's opposition broke the ruling party's 17-year stranglehold on power by winning control of congress in December, the political earthquake created editorial aftershocks at the 24-hour news station Globovisión.

Blog   |   Venezuela

Last critic standing: How El Nacional defies challenges to keep publishing

Editor Miguel Henrique Otero, pictured in El Nacional's Caracas office in 2010, has been managing the paper from exile after being accused of defamation. (AP/Fernando Llano)

Patricia Spadaro, news editor at the Caracas daily El Nacional, faces daunting challenges in putting out the newspaper. Her boss, El Nacional's president and editor Miguel Henrique Otero, has been living in exile since May 2015 after a top government official accused him of defamation. Amid the country's deep economic crisis, half of Spadaro's reporters have been laid off and there is less space for articles due to a newsprint shortage. Staff must also sometimes skip work to stand in line at supermarkets to buy milk, meat, and other scarce products.

Blog   |   Venezuela

Venezuela's national assembly reopens to the press after five-year ban

Journalists gather in the press gallery of Venezuela's National Assembly, after a five-year ban was overturned. (AP/Fernando Llano)

When security guards opened the doors to Venezuela's colonial-era National Assembly building last Wednesday, I was among the dozens of reporters who swarmed inside. Even though the day's legislative session would not be called to order for another three hours, every seat in the press galley, located on the second-floor balcony overlooking the chamber, was quickly occupied.

Blog   |   Argentina

How Argentine broadcast law rewards friendly outlets and discriminates against critics

Presidential candidate Daniel Scioli is surrounded by press on election day. A pro-government TV station erroneously declared him the winner despite the vote going to a runoff in late November. (AP/Enric Marti)

The moment polls closed for Argentina's presidential election on October 25, the C5N cable news station breathlessly reported that ruling party candidate Daniel Scioli had triumphed and would succeed President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who is banned by the constitution from running for a third consecutive term.

Blog   |   Ecuador

Firing of critical newspaper editor raises concern in Ecuador

When the Quito daily El Comercio was sold in December to a Latin America media tycoon known for avoiding editorial conflict, press freedom advocates feared the newspaper would soften its coverage of the Ecuadoran government. Those concerns have now increased with last month’s firing of Martín Pallares, one of El Comercio’s most prominent journalists and a fierce government critic.

Blog   |   Peru

Criminal defamation thwarts critical reporting in Ayacucho

When Wilfredo Oscorima, the governor of the southern Peruvian state of Ayacucho, was sentenced in June to five years in prison for official misconduct, independent daily La Calle viewed the ruling as vindication for its vigorous investigations into his administration.

Blog   |   Venezuela

In Venezuela, online news helps journalists get their voices back

After leaving Globovisión, Alberto Ravell, pictured in 2010, set up critical online news site La Patilla. (AFP/Miguel Gutierrez)

When Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez was rumored to be gravely ill four years ago, his socialist government was tightlipped about the diagnosis. Then in June 2011 a source in Havana, Cuba, where Chávez was being treated, told Nelson Bocaranda, a veteran columnist for the Caracas daily El Universal, that the president had cancer.

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.

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