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The State of Freedom of Expression in the Americas

Violence constitutes the majority of threats to the media in Latin America, according to a study, The State of Freedom of Expression in the Americas, by the Center for Studies on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information based in Argentina. Judicial penal actions are still a major concern, the report says, while defamation cases have declined. These are several of the 17 categories the report classifies and analyzes using ten years of data from annual reports by the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights at the Organization of American States. While ranking countries based on media freedom inevitably presents challenges, including uneven reporting among countries and changing internal factors over time, the report reinforces the work of development organizations and civil society groups monitoring freedom of expression in the Americas.


 


Featuring

Eduardo Bertoni
Center for Studies on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information

With Comments by

Catalina Botero Marino
Special Rapporteurship for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-Amerian Commission on Human Rights

Jake Dizard
Freedom House

Katya Salazar
Due Process of Law Foundation

Moderated by

Miriam Kornblith
National Endowment for Democracy


About the Author

Eduardo Bertoni is the director of the Center for Studies on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information at Palermo University School of Law, Argentina. Previously, he was the executive director of the Due Process of Law Foundation and also served as the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression from 2002 to 2005. Bertoni has worked as a private lawyer in Argentina and has been a legal advisor for several nongovernmental organizations in his country. He has worked as an advisor to the Department of Justice and Human Rights in Argentina, and has been a professor at the University of Buenos Aires and adjunct professor at the School of Law at George Washington University. Bertoni has written several publications on the right to freedom of expression, judicial reforms, and international criminal law.

About the Panelists

Catalina Botero Marino was elected by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in 2008 to serve as the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression. Before her current position, she was auxiliary magistrate in the Constitutional Court of Colombia starting in 2005. Previously, she was the national director of the Office for the Promotion and Dissemination of Human Rights in the Office of the People’s Defender of Colombia. She has been the director of the Consultancy for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law at the Social Foundation, adviser to the Colombia’s prosecutor general, and professor and researcher at the Law School of the University of the Andes. She is also the author of several books and essays published locally and internationally on constitutional theory, constitutional law, right to freedom of expression, international humanitarian law, international criminal law, and transitional justice.

Jake Dizard is the managing editor of Countries at the Crossroads, an annual survey of democratic governance in 70 countries around the globe. In this capacity, he directs research, writing, and administrative operations for the survey. He is Freedom House’s principal Latin America analyst, with a special interest in the Andean region. For several years he has served as analyst for the Andes for Freedom House’s Freedom of the Press and Freedom in the World publications and has published op-eds and articles on press freedom and democratic governance in Latin America. He wrote the Peru report for the 2007 edition of Countries at the Crossroads.

Katya Salazar is the executive director of the Due Process of Law Foundation. Salazar joined the organization in January 2004 as programs director after serving as deputy director of the Special Investigations Unit of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission. At the commission, she was in charge of human rights violations investigations during Peru’s internal armed conflict. She previously worked as a lawyer and researcher for the Human Rights Division of the Office of the Peruvian Ombudsman from 1998 to 2000, and as a lawyer and researcher for the Coalition Against Impunity in Germany from 1997 to 1998.  In 1997, she was a legal fellow with the International Human Rights Law Group, now called Global Rights, a non-governmental organization based in Washington, D.C.  From 1993 to 1996, she was a lawyer for the Institute of Legal Defense in Peru. She has written numerous articles on the criminal prosecution and judicial reform.