18 attacks against freedom of expression documented in a year

Expression

In May 2019, the Commander-in-Chief of the military, General Claudio Feola, filed a defamation complaint against journalist Gabriel Pereyra of Radio Sarandí. During his radio program, the journalist expressed his opinion about a statement made by Feola about the detained and disappeared Uruguayans during the last military dictatorship (1973-85).

During his first press conference after taking over his role on 8th April 2019, General Feola stated that he was not willing to condemn the alleged crimes against humanity committed by the military during the dictatorship because he did not know “if they were confirmed or not”. Pereyra in his radio show questioned Feola´s statement denying all the evidence that exists against the military. 

On 22nd May 2019, the Public Prosecutor issued a decision dismissing the complaint. The decision stated that the journalist remarks "are in compliance with the national and international standards on freedom of expression, as he is fulfilling its professional duty to inform and comment on matters of undoubted national interest." 

On 3rd May 2019, CAinfo, International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), and the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) published the report Amenazas a la Libertad de Expresión de los Periodistas en Uruguay (Threats against Journalists' Freedom of Expression). The report stated that from 1st April 2018 until 31st March 2019, 18 cases of threats against freedom of expression were documented.  

Peaceful Assembly

On 20th May 2019, thousands of people participated in the 24th edition of the Marcha del Silencio (Silence March) chanting “Tell us where they are! Against past and present impunity”. As done every year, the demonstration was organised by the civil society organisation Madres y Familiares de Uruguayos Detenidos Desaparecidos (Mothers and Families of Detained and Disappeared Uruguayans) demanding truth and justice regarding crimes committed during Uruguay's military dictatorship (1973-1985). The march took place in the capital, and 27 other cities and towns.