Colombian politician to stand trial for killing of journalist nine years ago

The ex-director of the Liberal political party in Colombia, Francisco Ferney Tapasco González, is going to be tried in the killing of the assistant editor of the newspaper La Patria, Orlando Sierra.

Bolivia approves law to increase state control of media, permit wiretapping

On Thursday, July 28 the Bolivian Senate approved the controversial Telecommunications, Information Technology and Communication Law. The law gives the state majority control of electronic media, according to local press.

Brazilian Senate dismisses complaint against lawmaker that threatened journalist

Brazil’s Senate president, José Sarney, blocked an attempt to censure Senator Robert Requião, who forcefully took a journalists tape recorder, erased what was on it, and threatened to hit the media worker during an April interview, G1 reports.

Reporters Without Borders calls on Peru’s new president to decriminalize press offenses

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) sent an open letter to Ollanta Humala, Peru’s new president, asking him to follow through on his campaign promise to decriminalize media offenses and end existing legal cases against journalists, EFE reports.

Citizen tries to sue Ecuador's president for libel, Congress rejects his petition

As tempers simmered over the sentencing of newspaper employees for defaming Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa, one citizen decided to file a similar lawsuit. But this time it was against President Correa for comments the head of state made about him, Hoy reports. Executives and a columnist of El Universo were sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay $40 million in damages to the president.

El Salvador dismisses colonel’s libel suit against newspaper over drug trafficking story

A court in El Salvador has ruled against Colonel José Arturo Rodríguez Martínez in his defamation suit against La Prensa Gráfica newspaper for an article alleging he had ties to Mexican drug traffickers, El Mundo reports.

Suspect in journalist slaying arrested then freed in Brazil

A man suspected of killing political journalist Auro Ida was arrested by the police July 25 in the neighborhood of Cuiabá, Mato Grosso where the crime occurred, G1 reports. Soon after, the 19-year-old man was released by the police when the victim’s girlfriend – the principal witness to the crime – failed to recognize him, Terra explains. The police say he is still under investigation.

Retired colonel tried over killing of journalist during Brazilian dictatorship

Forty years after journalist Luis Eduardo Merlino was arrested, tortured, and killed during Brazil’s military dictatorship (1964-1985), retired Army Colonel Carlos Alberto Brilhante Ustra is being tried for his alleged role in the crime, Correio do Brasil reports.

Court stays libel case against president of Panamanian journalism union

A court temporarily stayed a libel and slander case against Grisel Bethancourt, the president of Panama's National Journalism Guild (CONAPE), over an article with judicial information about the slaying of a girl, TVN News reported.

Police reporter is seventh journalist killed in Mexico this year

Journalist Yolanda Orda, who had been missing for 48 hours, was found dead in Veracruz, Mexico, July 26, the Associated Press reports. Ordaz, who covered police issues for Notiver – one of the most important dailies in the region – is the second journalist from the paper to be killed in the last five weeks and the seventh Mexican journalist killed in 2011.

RSF calls for reforms to help Paraguay’s press resist organized crime

While violence against the press in Paraguay is nowhere near the levels found in Mexico, Honduras, or Colombia, journalists in the country have little support and face daily risks, especially those in border regions controlled by international smuggling gangs, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) writes in its report “Journalists alone facing trafficking."

Proposed Brazilian law would require insurance for journalists on risky assignments

A bill in Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies would require media companies to provide life and disability insurance for journalists working in dangerous areas, Agência Câmara reports.