The Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) Wednesday asked Chile's Constitutional Convention to guarantee the broadest access to public information and to prohibit Congress from enacting laws that restrict freedom of the press in the new text being drafted.
Chile is working to replace the 1980 Constitution written under the military regime of General Augusto Pinochet and which was set on principles most Chileans have shown to be against last Sunday when they could have voted for hard-line Pinochetist José Antonio Kast but chose the progressive Gabriel Boric instead to become the country's next President.
After Sunday's elections all eyes turned to the new Constitution because it has the potential to cut Boric's term short.
From the IAPA we have always rejected laws that try to regulate the media, because these end up being instruments to restrict freedom of the press and, consequently, the right of citizens to receive and disseminate information, said the Argentine Carlos Jornet, who chairs IAPA's Commission on Freedom of the Press and Information.
Jornet has been since 1998 editor of the newspaper La Voz del Interior, in Córdoba, Argentina.
IAPA President Jorge Canahuati said through a statement he welcomed the fact that Chileans will be consulted before enacting a text that will serve to frame with full freedom the future of all citizens under the leadership of President-elect Gabriel Boric.
Jornet stated that the new Constitution must contain four relevant points: ”Prohibit prior censorship, prohibit the enactment of laws that restrict freedom of the press in any platform, incorporate the citizen's right to seek, receive and disseminate information and promote the widest access to public information.”
The Córdoba journalist presented IAPA's position in a document drafted in response to a public request made by the Commission for Knowledge Systems, Cultures, Science, Technology, Arts and Heritage of Chile's Constitutional Convention to organizations that lead the fight for freedom of the press.
The members of Chile's Constitutional Convention, elected in May, are tasked with drafting the new Constitution that will be put to a plebiscite in mid-2022.