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Voices Behind the News: Promoting Freedom of Expression & Strengthening Independent Media in Central America

Join us in-person on Tuesday, June 20, 2023, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (ET), for our second dialogue in a series of conversations about the “Voices” initiative.

Date & Time

Jun. 20, 2023
11:00am – 12:30pm ET


6th Floor Flom Auditorium, Woodrow Wilson Center


Globally, democratic values are under assault. This is also true in parts of Central America, where leaders and criminal organizations are silencing public debate and quashing criticism, including by trampling on the rights of the region’s independent news media. In recent months, one of El Salvador’s most prominent media companies relocated to Costa Rica citing “attacks against press freedom,” and in Guatemala, a major newspaper shut down following the arrest of its founder.

At last year’s Summit of the Americas, in Los Angeles, USAID Administrator Samantha Power launched “Voices,” an initiative jointly led by the U.S. Department of State, to strengthen civil society in Central America and support the U.S. Strategy for Addressing the Root Causes of Migration in Central America. The “Voices” initiative is designed in part to increase support for Central America’s journalists, critical watchdogs who draw attention to democratic backsliding and public corruption.

The Wilson Center’s Latin America Program, the U.S. Department of State, USAID and the U.S. Mission to the Organization of American States hosted our second dialogue in a series of conversations about the “Voices” initiative. These dialogues involve dsenior U.S. government officials and civil society leaders from Central America that Under Secretary Uzra Zeya has called the “building blocks of democracy.” The next event, addressing threats to freedom of expression and the independent media, took place on the margins of the OAS General Assembly. It featured analysis from influential journalists from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua about the increasing obstacles to their investigative reporting.

Hosted By

Latin America Program

The Wilson Center’s prestigious Latin America Program provides non-partisan expertise to a broad community of decision makers in the United States and Latin America on critical policy issues facing the Hemisphere. The Program provides insightful and actionable research for policymakers, private sector leaders, journalists, and public intellectuals in the United States and Latin America. To bridge the gap between scholarship and policy action, it fosters new inquiry, sponsors high-level public and private meetings among multiple stakeholders, and explores policy options to improve outcomes for citizens throughout the Americas. Drawing on the Wilson Center’s strength as the nation’s key non-partisan policy forum, the Program serves as a trusted source of analysis and a vital point of contact between the worlds of scholarship and action.  Read more

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