In the Dominican Republic, freedom of the press, expression and dissemination of thought is widely exercised and guaranteed in the Constitution. In recent years, there has been a decrease in physical and verbal attacks against journalists.
As Dominican democracy seems to consolidate, the role of the media is more active and influential. The media landscape is diverse, strong and dynamic and the journalists regularly reveal scandals involving personalities in power and also those who were in power and/or are close to these two sectors. Citizens have free access to all media. The main newspapers continue in the double modality of printed and digital. Newscasts are broadcasted daily on TV and radio. The Internet has expanded the reach of mass media and the emergence of smaller media. The newspapers with the greatest dissemination are Diario Libre and Listín Diario, the former being of free access since its foundation.
The number of journalists who are identified as connected with certain political parties is increasing. As is the case in other countries, politicians present their ideas and positions in the media. Disinformation campaigns against or attacking the media are not common in the Dominican Republic; they are mostly present in social media and pertain to misinformation about what is happening in the country.
The Dominican Constitution guarantees freedom of the press, but there are still articles in the Penal Code that impose prison terms for journalists found guilty of defamation or libel. In recent years, the Constitutional Court has deemed unconstitutional the penalty for directors or media owners who allow the publication of information written by a third party (the journalist or a columnist). There are several bills in the (bicameral) National Congress aimed at completely decriminalizing press crimes.
Pay television and the Internet have facilitated the creation of dozens of programs and small digital media. Many journalists have established their own television programs and have created digital sites. Large and traditional media have strengthened their digital output and reduced the size of printed issues. The economic crisis due to the pandemic forced them to reduce the number of pages. Advertising, whether state or private, plays an essential role in the development of the press. While public campaigns are still mainly directed at the large media, they have also appeared in the smaller ones.
Most of Dominican society sees the role of the media as positive, but it must be said that the main news outlets rest in the hands of a single private company, one of the most powerful in the country. This is the case of Listín Diario, Hoy, El Nacional, El Caribe, El Día (free), and the television stations Telesistema, CDN, Teleantillas and Coral. For example, Diario Libre is owned by businessmen linked to banking.
In the Dominican Republic, journalists work in satisfactory safety conditions. There is no evidence that they are being spied on by the Government, although for years the word has been spread that all telephones "of interest" to the national intelligence service are presumably tapped. When there have been cases of direct threats against journalists, the State has actively provided them with protection.