On May 3rd, Pan-American Freedom of Speech NGO Alianza Regional por la Libre Expresión e Información (Regional Alliance for Free Speech and Information) published a new report which analyzes media regulations in 16 countries around the region.
The document, Artículo XIII "Informe sobre regulación de medios en América Latina”, (Article XIII: Report on Media Regulations in Latin America) seeks to “show how media regulation is treated in the region, taking into account the promotion, implementation and defense of the right to free speech,” said Belén Coccolo, Project Assistant at the Alliance.
The report includes indicators designed to monitor the evolution of media laws in the countries surveyed, Coccolo added. “We want to raise awareness about the development [of media laws] and about the exercising of the right to free speech.”
Based in Buenos Aires, the Alliance campaigns for freedom of speech in the region. The countries surveyed for the report are Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Despite sharing a language and cultural heritage, there are significant differences in the approach to freedom of speech around Latin America. Some countries, such as Venezuela, have enacted strict regulations on content and media ownership, while others, such as Colombia, Brazil and Mexico, have sophisticaded media operations backed by access to information laws and no restrictions on free speech beyond those against slander.
Still, Coccolo said, more transparency is needed even in those countries with no restrictions.
“In some countries, it is the government that controls the presence and influence of the media,” she added. “In others, there are other factors: economic interests, mostly.”
“The report, however, is not of a qualitative nature. The laws are there – we just present them,” Coccolo added.
Are there any laws governing freedom of speech in your country? And if so, how do they compare with other nations? Which sector controls media in your nation? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter (@GlobalIntegrity).
–Julio C. Urdaneta