Uruguay | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status


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


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


The constitution provides for press freedom, and the media generally operate freely and are often critical of the government. Defamation, contempt, and libel are considered criminal offenses and are punishable by up to three years' imprisonment. Over the past year, press freedom has been threatened by a series of trials and lawsuits in the courts involving charges of libel, requiring journalists to reveal sources, or concerning the controversial right of reply. The courts frequently enforce the right of reply in favor of the prosecution, which some consider to be a flagrant form of censorship. In contrast, the Chamber of Deputies approved a bill that will allow public access to government documents and information. There were some cases in which harassment and intimidation of journalists occurred, most often in relation to the coverage of corruption scandals. Taxes continue to be a heavy burden on the print press, as is the very high cost of distribution. Some media outlets have accused government agencies of withholding advertising revenues from outlets that are critical of the government.