Uruguay | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press



Freedom of the Press 2004

2004 Scores

Press Status


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


Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)


Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)


The constitution of Uruguay provides for freedom of speech and the press; numerous private print and broadcast media outlets represent views across the entire political spectrum. The recently passed freedom of information act has permitted increased access to government information. However, libel, defamation, and contempt are considered criminal offenses; in March 2003 a journalist received a seven-month suspended sentence for libel. Laws against reporting "false news" and insult exist that carry sentences of up to two years in jail, but they were not used against the press in 2003. In September, a journalist reported receiving death threats as a result of his investigations into the links between police and an organized crime ring in the city of Paysandu. The tendency of state-controlled organizations to allocate advertising revenues only to pro-government media outlets has caused widespread self-censorship and even led to the firing of some reporters for articles deemed too critical of the government. Private companies have also scaled back on advertising, a development that has threatened the financial viability of independent media outlets already facing high distribution costs and an excessive tax burden.