28 freedom of expression violations documented in Uruguay in the past year

Expression

In 2014 Uruguay adopted the law on Broadcast Communication Services, that established an independent Broadcast Communications Council. However, this law has not been implemented yet and the Coalition for Democratic Communication (CCD), which gathers trade unions, social and academic organisations as well as the Association of Producers and Filmmakers of Uruguay (ASOPROD), has recently demanded the government for its regulation.

report released in May 2016 by the Center for Archives and Access to Public Information (CAinfo for its name in Spanish) registered a decrease in threats on freedom of expression in Uruguay. From April 1st, 2015 to March 31st, 2016, 28 freedom of expression violations in the country were documented, 10 of which were categorised at the "medium" level and 18 "light" level. The report also showed that most of the cases are related to obstruction of journalistic work with the objetive of preventive the media to cover certain issues. For example, the refusal to answer questions at press conferences, bans on access to media professionals to public places or blocking the operation of journalists’ equipment. Five other instances were listed as threats. For example, an employee of newspaper El Pais, received a death threat after the release of an investigative report related to the Peñarol football team. Five cases were recorded as intimidation in the workplace, four as intimidation by the justice system, two as denial of requests for access to information, one as physical intimidation and one as censorship. As per the perpetrators, 16 of the violations were carried out by private persons, eight by public officials , three by political parties and one by a union leader.

The 2016 World Press Freedom Index, published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF)  places Uruguay in 20th position among 180 countries (up three places in relation to 2015) and 1st in South America. 

Peaceful Assembly

Several peaceful demonstrations and protests have taken place in Uruguay  in 2016. The general 24-hour strike held on July 14th has been the most important one, that gathered an estimated of one million people, according to data from the Central Union Workers PIT-CNT that considered this mobilisation as the largest one of in the last 10 years. The protest was a response to government economic measures and the decrease of wages. The FEUU (Federation of University Students) and other University unions have announced a demonstration to be held on 9 August 2016 to protest against the recently announced reductions of the University budget. The PIT-CNT has expressed its support for the FEUU and called all students for action to achieve a higher education budget.