Status: Partly Free
Legal Environment: 13
Political Influences: 24
Economic Pressures: 18
Total Score: 55
Life Expectancy: 71
Religious Groups: Roman Catholic (90 percent), Mennonite and Protestant (10 percent)
Ethnic Groups: Mestizo (95 percent), Indian and white (5 percent)
The constitution provides for freedom of the press, although the government does not always respect this right. Journalists covering strikes and protests risk intimidation and violent attacks by the security forces. In a country that is ranked as the most corrupt in Latin America, journalists also face considerable harassment and intimidation when reporting on corruption scandals. Media outlets and their owners sometimes face legal harassment through the courts as well. In December, a journalist was found guilty of defamation and ordered to pay large fines for an investigative story in which he allegedly "insulted the honor" of a prominent attorney and a former senator. Media independence is compromised by close relationships between the media and political parties and business. Nongovernmental media ownership is highly concentrated, and the economic situation in the country accentuates media dependency on political parties and big businesses for funding.
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