The CJE, through its director, is helping Guatemalan journalists improve their news media system. The director travelled to Guatemala in July to meet with urban and rural journalists, and with journalism educators. The journalists and educators are discussing media reform with local civic groups such as Centro Civitas.
Guatemalan journalists routinely face threats, undue influence, censorship, and poor working conditions. The ownership of new media, especially broadcasting, is heavily concentrated. Four of the five major broadcast channels are owned by one person, a Mexican businessman.
Over several months, journalists in the various regions of the country have held meetings to discuss their problems and propose solutions. Journalists identified the most serious issues facing reporters and editors.
Additional data on Guatemalan media will be collected in the weeks ahead. This information will guide the development of a plan of action. Organizers hope the plan will unite concerned journalists, citizens, and civic groups around common goals and values.
Among other things, Prof. Ward has been asked to help journalists write a code of ethics and a ‘visionary’ statement about the future of news media in the Latin American country.