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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.