Chile | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2002

2002 Scores

Press Status


Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


National television is state-owned but self-financed and editorially independent. Radio stations are both public and private and scores of publications present all viewpoints. In a positive development, a new press law repealed the controversial 1958 Article 6(b) of the State Security Law that criminalized those who "insulted" public officials. The new legislation also protects journalists from the obligation to reveal their sources, and ends the power of the courts to issue gag orders on the press for reporting on controversial criminal cases. But the law also limits the recognition of a journalist to one who graduated from a recognized journalism school. A number of restrictive press statutes remain on the books, including one that allows judges to confiscate publications. Nevertheless, following the new press law, the court lifted a two-year ban on a book that exposed corruption in the judiciary. Another important court ruling upheld the right to access information and ordered a forestry company to release information to the public. While covering a story about Pinochet, journalists were attacked physically and verbally by Pinochet supporters.