New documentary highlights dangers, government pressures that journalists face in Latin America

By Alejandro Martínez

Spanish-language TV network Univision has produced a new documentary on the government pressures and dangers that journalists face today throughout Latin America.

The one-hour documentary, PRESSionados (or "pressured" in Spanish), will air on Sunday, Dec. 15 (at 3:45 p.m., Eastern Time). It explores the tense relationship between the press and the government in countries like Ecuador, Venezuela and Argentina, and will highlight the high index of murders and attacks against journalists in Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and Brazil.

"Instead of thinking of what to publish and write, now we think about what not to publish to remain alive," said in the documentary Mexican journalist Javier Valdez with newspaper Río Doce, which was attacked with a grenade in 2009.

PRESSionados also addresses the high number of media outlets closed by governments in Latin America in recent years, the growing use of state broadcasts that every radio and TV station is legally required to run, the disparaging remarks made against journalists by presidents and other high-ranking officials during public addresses, and government sympathizers' physical attacks against media workers.

Interviewees include journalists from prominent Ecuadorian and Venezuelan media outlets, controversial Argentine journalist Jorge Lanata and well-known Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez, who speaks about the new generation of dissident bloggers that has emerged in the island nation.

Univision will open up a discussion on Twitter using the hashtag #LibertaddeExpresion and the accounts @unidocumentales and @marianaatencio. It will start an hour before the documentary airs on TV with lead reporter Mariana Atencio and other press freedom experts.

The documentary will also be available through Noticias.Univision.com after its TV broadcast.

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.

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