La Estrella de Panamá has kept Panama’s citizens informed since 1849. Now, as the country prepares for elections next year, the existence of the major newspaper, along with that of its sister title, El Siglo, may depend on the U.S. Treasury Department.
An operating license that the Treasury Department granted to the daily papers while it investigates their majority shareholder has expired. The license exempted the papers from a ban on U.S. companies doing business with the man who owns them. Without it, the papers are struggling with everything from purchasing ink to maintaining reporting staff.
“It’s a violation of press freedom, freedom of information, everything,” Doris Hubbard-Castillo, La Estrella de Panamá‘s opinion editor, told CPJ. “I’m furious that our journalists have to deal with this uncertainty. The journalists have nothing to do with the investigation, and we’re under all this pressure.”
The licensing issue dates back to