During the highly criticized Venezuelan presidential elections on May 20, monitors of freedom of expression recorded physical attacks on journalists as well as intimidation. It’s more of the same for a community of journalists that has been threatened physically, in the courts and online while covering growing political and societal unrest in recent years.
A statement from independent Nicaraguan journalists condemning lethal violence on protesters and attacks on the press, and urging respect for press freedom from the government, has garnered signatures from 35 media outlets, four civil society organizations, 87 journalists and counting.
In Brazil in 2017 there were at least 27 serious violations against communicators, according to a report released on May 3 by the Brazilian branch of international organization Article 19, which is dedicated to the defense of freedom of expression. The information compiled by the NGO annually since 2012 highlights continuing trends in the country: politicians are the main suspects of ordering or carrying out violations; small cities, with up to 100,000 inhabitants, are the main sites of these violations; and radio broadcasters and bloggers are the main victims of the attacks.
As they have every year since 1993, when UNESCO proclaimed May 3 as World Press Freedom Day, journalists and freedom of expression advocates in Latin America and around the world gathered at conferences and rallied online to discuss the importance of press freedom and ways to the threats it faces.
Numerous television and radio news outlets in Nicaragua were attacked or experienced signal interruptions during coverage of the wave of protests that erupted throughout the country due to a reform to the Social Security Law by the government of President Daniel Ortega.
Brazilian journalist Felipe Oliveira has been accused of the crime of promoting terrorism after infiltrating a group of sympathizers of the Islamic State (IS) as part of a journalistic investigation conducted in 2016.
Cybersecurity, legal shields and working in alliances are some of the fundamental factors to consider when conducting journalistic investigations on corruption issues in Latin America, according to speakers on the Corruption Coverage panel, held during the 11th Ibero-American Colloquium of Digital Journalism in Austin, Texas on April 15, 2018.
At least 19 journalists and media professionals were attacked in various cities in Brazil between April 5 and 7 while working to cover former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (2003-2011) going to jail, according to records from the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism (Abraji). The assaults, which came from supporters of Lula and the Military Police, were repudiated by press organizations in Brazil and Latin America.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has recommended the creation of a communications monitoring council independent of political and commercial interests in Ecuador, reported El Universo.
The Brazilian press needs to do more to create diverse newsrooms.