Chilean prison fire brings calls for better coverage of prison conditions

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  • December 20, 2010

By Ingrid Bachmann

The deaths of 81 inmates in a prison fire in Santiago this month have brought angry response by users of social networks, who criticized prison conditions in Chile and accused the media of insensitive coverage, Global Voices Online reports.

Radio Bío-Bío reports that journalists and news organizations were criticized for showing charred cadavers and making several blunders during the fire, including insensitive questions by of victims, and a lapse by one reporter, who said he was broadcasting from outside the "mine," referring to the national drama in the Atacama Desert that ended in October.

On Twitter, the hashtag #carcelsanmiguel was used to criticize the overcrowding of prisons, which President Sebastian Pinera has acknowledged are "shameful and inhumane."

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.