Latin America & the Caribbean

IWPR Latin America and the Caribbean currently works across five countries in the region where freedom of expression and access to information are at risk, supporting journalism and building activists’ digital and social media skills. We strengthen the capacity of journalists and media outlets, from basic reporting to financial sustainability, as well as providing security training and support. IWPR builds links with civil society groups, enhancing communications strategies and supporting cyber activists to build awareness among new generations of freedom of expression and human rights issues.

CAPIR Consortium

Regional Consortium to Support Journalism (CAPIR)

IWPR has brought together a consortium of organisations from across Latin America and the Caribbean, to specialise in investigative journalism, countering disinformation and building security capacity.

The consortium aims to pilot and implement holistic solutions to emerging challenges and threats to journalism and independent media across the region. The project will help build the conditions that allow journalists to conduct fact-based reporting that informs populations and holds those in power to account. Priority countries from 2020-2022 include Mexico, Honduras, Venezuela and Bolivia. 

Years active: 2020-present

Areas of work to support journalists include:

  • Empowering media networks to fight disinformation,
  • Investigative journalism capacity for national and transfrontier reporting,
  • Media audience expansion and financial sustainability,
  • Digital, physical, political/legal and psychosocial security capacity, with e-learning tools on the Totem Project,
  • Inclusive journalism and diverse newsrooms.

Consortium partners: 

© Baleria Mena

Positive Influence on Social Media: Regional

IWPR’s digital communications and information team works with cyberactivists and online influencers  in Latin America and the Caribbean to help build their capacity to promote positive change through social media.

Through IWPR’s Influencer School, supported content creators learn about human rights, how to increase audience and engagement metrics, improve content quality and deliver targeted campaigns to promote positive social change. 
So far, human rights campaigns have focused on LGBTIQ rights, combating violence against women, promoting environmental and conservation causes, reducing poverty and demanding the right to free expression. The campaigns have gone viral, engaging and raising knowledge of these issues amongst millions of young social media users in the region. 

Years Active: 2018-present

Hacks de Vida (Life Hacks) handbook cover illustration.

Digital Security With a Gender Perspective

SAWA: Safety Awareness and Action was a project designed to build digital security skills among women human rights defenders and strengthen the institutional resilience of some of the most important civil society organisations in Latin America against digital threats, data loss and privacy breaches.

Implemented in Mexico, Ecuador, Venezuela, Honduras and Nicaragua, the project led to dozens of women-led human rights organisations with increased preparedness against digital attacks as well as the co-creation of a curriculum that shows digital security trainers how to provide workshops with a gender perspective cyber-women.com. Female digital security experts from the five countries were trained as trainers and supported to deliver the curriculum and help build the resilience of women activists and journalists to avoid or mitigate gender-specific, technology-based violence and threats.

Years active: 2016-2018

Satellite sites:

Publications:

Bolivia

Recent political events in Bolivia have further polarised society, with the judiciary manipulated by both sides to silence opposition and dissent. 

During the electoral crisis, journalists were attacked while covering street protests and strikes. The government uses a variety of laws to attack independent media and restricts public advertising budgets to media outlets that provide sympathetic coverage - a problem exacerbated because Bolivia is amongst the poorest nations in the hemisphere. This has fostered a climate of self-censorship. Bolivia is a priority country for the CAPIR programme, under which journalists learn investigative reporting, build resilience to security threats, increase the financial capacity to sustain independent media and develop tools and networks to counter disinformation. The project also works to build diversity and to ensure that reporting is gender sensitive inclusive of all Bolivians. 

Years active: 2020-present

A shopper wearing a face mask walks in Old Havana, on March 27, 2020. © Eliana Aponte/VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images

Cuba

IWPR has worked with journalists and civil society groups in Cuba since 2011, equipping them with the skills to conduct fact-based reporting, provide objective, unbiased and accurate information about the country, question and hold authority to account and create mutual support networks.

Despite the many challenges of operating in this restrictive environment, a combination of in-person, distance and on-the-job learning has raised the standard of journalistic work. Some participants made such progress that they won international prizes and IWPR was able to recruit them as journalism trainers.

Efforts to bring journalists and civil society groups together include the creation of a code of ethics for independent reporters in Cuba and a gender-sensitive journalism guide for the Cuban context. Ongoing project work seeks to build the organisational capacity of news providers and civil society groups, help them define their missions and plan strategically, and thus better prepare them to achieve their goals and deliver their messages in a focused, transparent and professional manner.

Years active: 2011-present

Publications:

Ecuador

In response to the threats against women and activists in the digital sphere, IWPR implemented SAWA: Safety Awareness and Action, a project designed to build digital security skills among human rights defenders and strengthen the institutional resilience of key civil society organisations against digital threats, data loss and privacy breaches.

The programme included a pilot sub-project targeting at-risk women's rights organisations in the MENA region and in Latin America, with the goal of increasing the resilience of women activists to avoid or mitigate gender-specific, technology-based violence and threats

Years active: 2016-2018

Satellite sites:

Honduras

Honduras is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist or human rights defender. The journalism sector has been prioritised for support under the CAPIR programme.

Journalists learn to conduct investigative reporting, build resilience to security threats, gain the financial capacity to sustain independent media and develop networks to counter disinformation. The project also works to build the diversity and to ensure that reporting is gender sensitive and inclusive of all Hondurans. 

Honduras was also a priority country under the SAWA: Safety Awareness and Action project from 2016 -18, with women’s and environmental rights organisations and journalists receiving gender sensitive digital security support to counter threats on and offline. 

Years active: 2016-present

Mexico

Mexico consistently tops the list of dangerous countries for journalists, with organised crime and corrupt officials threatening the lives of reporters and their families.

It is a priority country for the CAPIR programme, in which journalists learn to conduct investigative reporting, build resilience to security threats and develop the financial capacity to sustain independent media and develop tools and networks to counter disinformation. The project also works to build diversity and to ensure that reporting is gender sensitive and inclusive of all Mexicans.

Mexico was also a priority country under SAWA: Safety Awareness and Action project from 2016 -18, with women’s rights organisations receiving gender sensitive digital security support to counter the many threats that they faced on and offline.

Years active: 2016-present

Nicaragua

A government crackdown against a popular uprising in 2018 led many of Nicaragua’s media outlets and journalists to operate from exile. Journalists have been murdered and jailed, and several independent press, digital and television outlets have been banned, as have the human rights organisations that were created to protect them.

However, Nicaragua’s population continues to turn to independent media as the most credible source for their information. Working with local civil society partner CINCO, IWPR provided strategic planning support for media outlets to be able to survive this crisis. 

Nicaragua was also a priority country under SAWA: Safety Awareness and Action project from 2016 -18, with women-led human rights organisations receiving gender sensitive digital security support to counter the many threats that they faced on and offline. 

Years active: 2016-2019

Satellite sites:

Venezuela

With its deteriorating climate for media freedoms, Venezuela is a priority country for the CAPIR programme. Journalists learn to conduct investigative reporting, build resilience to security threats against their lives and wellbeing, develop the financial capacity to sustain independent media and develop tools and networks to counter disinformation.

The project also works to build diversity and to ensure that reporting is gender sensitive and inclusive of all Venezuelans.

Venezuela was also a priority country under the SAWA: Safety Awareness and Action project from 2016-18, with women-led human rights organisations receiving gender sensitive digital security support to counter the many threats that they faced on and offline.

Years active: 2016-present

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