Violence against journalists in Honduras and Mexico and government actions against the media in Venezuela, Brazil, Cuba, and Colombia were discussed this week at a U.S. House panel on press freedom in the Americas, The Dallas Morning News and AFP report.
Guillermo Zuloaga, the fugitive owner of Venezuela's 24-hour news channel Globovisión, has accused President Hugo Chávez of ordering his arrest to silence his criticism of the government, Reuters reports.
Karol Cabrera, a controversial TV and radio host who defended the coup that forced out President Manuel Zelaya last June, won asylum for herself and her two children in Canada, El Tiempo and La Prensa report. (See this Miami Herald article in English.)
Carmen María de Finol, a reporter for La Mañana newspaper, says she and photographer Yunior Lugo have received anonymous phone calls threatening to take legal action against them. The calls came after the two had reported the burning of tons of expired food that the government had purchased abroad to distribute to the poor, El Nacional and Europa Press report.
The debate over criminalization of opinions and information was swept under the rug again in Ecuador. The lawsuit against the opinion editor of El Universo newspaper, Emilio Palacio, ended in surprise after a high government official withdrew the libel charges against him, El Comercio and EFE report.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has written to President Felipe Calderón to express concern over several attacks and cases of harassment by federal forces against journalists who cover law enforcement.
The government's new so-called "situation agency" has the power to suppress "any information" deemed of national interest and will likely be seen as a further restriction by the Chávez administration of anti-government news, before legislative elections on Sept. 26, AFP reports.
Mexico's interior minister, Fernando Gómez Mont, demanded the press act responsibly, insisting that the violence prevailing in the country is caused by information spread by the media, El Universal and El Economista report.
On the recent third anniversary of the forced closure of Radio Caracas Television (RCTV), whose editorial line opposed President Hugo Chávez, the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) released a video of Marcel Granier, RCTV’s general manager, discussing attacks by the government against private media.
At a time when independent journalists continue to fear state police harassment for publishing criticisms of the government, and others remain in prison for their work, the Communist Party’s official newspaper, Granma, appears to be increasingly willing to air critical ideas. In recent months, the paper – Cuba’s largest – has published letters to the editor critical of the country’s economic policies, Juan Tamayo writes for The Miami Herald.