Mexican magazine fined for reporting on Pemex oil giant

A judge in Mexico City ruled that Contralínea magazine be fined for publishing stories about contracts awarded by state-owned oil giant Pemex to private companies, stating the matter “is not of public interest,” SDP Noticias reports.

Closure of Argentine TV station brings protests by the public

Residents of Posadas, capital of Misiones province (NE Argentina), demonstrated over the weekend in favor of freedom of expression, responding to last week’s closure of Channel 4. Ten military police officers went to the station Jan. 12 to enforce a court order to suspend its broadcasts. (See other stories here, in Spanish.)

Nobel-winner Vargas Llosa champions role of free press in Latin America

Peruvian writer and journalist Mario Vargas Llosa, the 2010 Nobel Laureate in Literature, defended the importance of “free journalism” and stressed the role of the Latin American press in helping diminish the “horrors of the authoritarian past” and supporting the consolidation of democracy, AFP and El Nuevo Diario report.

One day after attack on TV channel, guerrilla group sends letter threatening Paraguayan press

Following the Jan. 12 explosion of a home-made bomb at the headquarters of Channel 9 in Asunción, the capital of Paraguay, authorities now are investigating the origin of a letter threatening local media that was attributed to the armed group Paraguayan People's Army (EPP), reported the news agency EFE.

Venezuela blocks “xenophobic” Colombian soap opera

Venezuela’s telecommunications agency, Conatel, ordered Televén to immediately stop broadcasting the Colombian telenovela soap opera “Chepe Fortuna” for promoting “political and racial intolerance, as well as xenophobia and crime advocacy,” Reuters and BBC Mundo report.

Google shuts down YouTube channel of government-run website in Cuba

The government-run Cuban website Cubadebate denounced Google for closing its YouTube channel for a supposed copyright “infraction” in a video related to the trial of anti-Castro militant Luis Posada Carriles.

Under pressure from journalists, Panama squelches controversial libel bill

A controversial bill that included up to four years of prison for those who “insult” the president or other elected officials was withdrawn by the president of Panama’s National Assembly, José Muñoz, EFE and Terra report.

Brazil's communications minister wants rule that limits regional media ownership

The new communications minister, Paulo Bernardo, said he supported a rule that bars a company from owning a radio station, newspaper, and TV station in the same region, Folha de S. Paulo reports. He made the statements in an interview with TV Brasil (see the video below).

A publisher's commentary: Militant journalism, "kirchnerismo," and compromising truth in Argentina

For Argentine publisher and journalist Jorge Fontevecchia, many activists who support President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner – those aligned with so-called kirchnerismo – are prone to distorting the truth due to a mix of ideology and resentment. “[T]hey always aspired for notoriety, transcendence, influence, or the visibility that the big media has, [and] never got it and… kirchnerismo heals their frustration,” Fontevecchia controversially writes in his column for Perfil. Fontevecchia is the founder and edit

Bomb detonates at television station's headquarters in Paraguayan capital

A home-made bomb exploded Wednesday at the headquarters of Channel 9 in Asunción, Paraguay, but no one was injured, reported Paraguay.com. The explosive detonated near the station's antenna and left a hole in the wall of the building, according to the newspaper ABC Color.

Human Rights Commission denounces harassment of community radio stations in Honduras

The Inter-American Human Rights Commission on Jan. 11 condemned the harassment against community radio stations in Honduras by police and government officials, reported Univisión.

Brazilian mayor threatens TV crew investigating corruption

The mayor of Santa Branca, São Paulo, Odair Leal da Rocha Júnior (PMDB), threatened a crew for the Record TV network that was trying to interview him about alleged corruption in his administration, the station reports. Later that day, the mayor was arrested under suspicion of dealing drugs.