Dominican Republic

Report to the 76 IAPA General Assembly
October 21-23, 2020

In this period, a climate of limitations was generated as a consequence of the pandemic that reduced the sources of income of the media and therefore several opinion programs on radio and television went off the air. The number of pages of the printed newspapers were reduced and many journalists, designers and deliverymen were temporarily suspended or fired.

The media was compelled to resort to teleworking and to grant licenses to their staff over 60 years of age since the imposition of the state of emergency on March 19. Publication and the number of pages of printed newspapers were reduced to the maximum, due to the drop in advertising and street sales.

Some episodes of violence took place at night, during curfew hours, when unknown persons threw stones and other objects at journalists and their vehicles.

In this period and infected by the virus, eight journalists died, including Príamo Rodríguez, president and owner of the newspaper La Información, in the city of Santiago.

The press was also limited in its work during the two elections, the one in March for municipal authorities and the other one in July for the presidential and legislative elections, carried out with strict rules of physical distancing.

The new government headed by President Luis Abinader promised to respect the free access of the press to sources of public information. In the two months that he has been in office, the President opened a dialogue channel with the directors of newspapers, radio, television and digital media producers, to verify if his instructions for information transparency are being followed.

The version that officials of the National Palace articulated a plan for the concentration of all official advertising generated the immediate rejection of the Dominican Society of Newspapers (SDD) and the Dominican College of Journalists, who expressed the fear that it would be used to manipulate and discriminate against the press.

President Abinader summoned the editors of the SDD to clear up those concerns and explore formulas that allow the media to survive the financial crisis caused by the pandemic, without affecting their independence.