Harassment of or abuses against reporters, 1989 - 1991 [URY10026]

The journal Mate Amargo, in its 30 January 1991 issue, publishes a summary of violence and human rights abuses dating back to 1985. The source states that on 12 April 1989 Mate Amargo's reporter Anahí Canales was detained by policemen who seized her tape recorder because she recorded threats against her while covering a teachers' demonstration (Mate Amargo 30 Jan. 1991, 3).

The same publication reports that on 13 September 1989 the subcomisario (deputy sheriff) of Durazno, José P. Rodríguez, challenged Daniel Erosa to a duel because he had written an article denouncing a case of rape and escape at Durazno's jail (Ibid.). Finally, the report states that the police beat up those participating in a meeting for the launching of a new publication titled Ratas y Rateros (Rateros is a term widely used in South America for thieves, while Ratas, literally meaning rats, is also a derogatory term used widely for corrupt or dishonest people and criminals in general. The South American equivalent of "cops and robbers" is "policías y rateros," although it is not clear from the small entry in the report whether a game of words was intended with the name of the publication). The report adds that during the incident shots were fired, some were injured and arrests took place (Ibid.).

The Mate Amargo chronology does not report any cases of harassment, abuses or attacks against members of the press during the year 1990.

Please find attached a copy of the section on "the Right to Information" from the report on human rights for 1990 published in Spanish by the Uruguayan Servicio de Paz y Justicia (SERPAJ). According to the report, the daily El Día was closed for 24 hours on the eve of the 1989 elections because it published, in violation of the electoral law, political propaganda within 48 hours of an election (SERPAJ 1991, 14).

In February 1990 a police officer challenged the directors of the daily La República to a duel because of a news item published there which he considered had tainted his honour (Ibid., 14-15). The final outcome of the incident is not reported.

The same source adds that, from January to October 1990, there had been six legal actions carried against press media (Ibid., 15). Three of them were in demand of a right to reply, and one was carried out by the President of Uruguay in response to a report in the police-news weekly Al Rojo Vivo accusing him and his family of a fraud involving a large sum of money. The report praises the fact that the President sought a legal remedy, which ended up in a retraction and acknowledgement of the information's falsehood by the journal's editor, instead of having applied pressure through other means (Ibid.).

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists did not report any abuses or attacks against members of the press in Uruguay in its yearly report for 1990 nor in its periodical reports for the first four months of 1991.

Further information on harassment, attacks or abuses against journalists in Uruguay in 1989, 1990 and 1991 could not be found among the sources currently available to the IRBDC.


Mate Amargo [Montevideo]. 30 January 1991. "La otra cara de la `democracia'."

Servicio de Paz y Justicia (SERPAJ). 1991. Derechos Humanos en Uruguay - Informe 1990. Montevideo: SERPAJ.


Servicio de Paz y Justicia (SERPAJ). 1991. Derechos Humanos en Uruguay - Informe 1990. Montevideo: SERPAJ, pp. 14-16.