The country kept its good regional reputation for press freedom in 2005 but investigative journalism was still a risky business.
The “Switzerland of Latin America” has still not fully investigated the years of dictatorship (1973-84), when the media was supposed to “serve the national interest” and opposition journalists disappeared. Things were supposed to change when left-wing President Tabaré Vázquez took office in February 2005 with a promise to open the old files.
Physical attacks and threats against journalists are rare but two of the three such incidents during the year involved Marcelo Borrat, co-presenter of the programme “The Hippocratic Oath” on the radio station AM Libre 1410 and the station TV Libre.
He and a colleague, Gustavo Martínez, received many telephoned death threats in May and on 24 May got an e-mail warning them there would be “no more threats, but results.” The two journalists were making a programme about privately-owned mutual insurance companies suspected of embezzling health service funds. Borrat was briefly kidnapped by hooded men in Montevideo on 17 October, insulted, beaten and documents and a mobile phone stolen. He was received by the interior minister and given a bodyguard.