This article discusses a little-known historical event that created the conditions for and represents the power dynamics within the Latin American media as we know it today. The 1844 trial of Francisco Bilbao had a direct impact on the development of the free press in Chile and, subsequently, in the rest of South America. Bilbao’s trial, one of the most talked about events in the subcontinent at the time, brought the liberal journalist before a conservative Catholic court, which fined him for the publication of an antireligious piece, “Sociabilidad Chilena.” The response of his peers to this trial changed the outlook of the publishing industry in Latin America.