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Montevideo, April 24th 2024 - 09:29 UTC

 

 

Freedom of the press threatened in Argentine provinces

Saturday, July 29th 2023 - 10:48 UTC
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Whoever may feel harmed by a publication, already has the legislation in force to resort to the Judiciary,” Adepa said in a statement Whoever may feel harmed by a publication, already has the legislation in force to resort to the Judiciary,” Adepa said in a statement

Amid the controversy on who gets to decide what is true or not, the Association of Argentine Journalistic Entities (Adepa) Friday expressed its deep concern over the passing by the provincial Lower House in Salta of a bill establishing penalties (arrest and/or fines) for “whoever spreads false news” within the digital spectrum, it was reported.

“It has been said, and repeated, that there is no impunity for the exercise of freedom of the press. Whoever may feel harmed by a publication, already has the legislation in force to resort to the Judiciary,” Adepa said in a statement.

Article 50 of the bill in Salta imposes sanctions of an arrest of up to twenty-five days or fines “to those who create or disseminate false news, knowing that they are false, within the digital spectrum, with the purpose of instilling panic, discrediting people or official authorities or generating disorder or tumults.”

Blanket bans on the dissemination of information based on vague and ambiguous concepts, including “fake news” are incompatible with international standards on restrictions on freedom of expression and should not be included in any legislation, Adepa insisted.

“The Inter-American Court of Human Rights, in the case of Kimel vs. Argentina, took care to emphasize that the use of criminal sanctions in these cases must be totally exceptional. In that 2008 judgment, the IACHR Court condemned Argentina for its regulation of the crime of slander and libel and demanded that the repressive punishment of expressions be absolutely extraordinary. A year later, the crimes of slander and libel were decriminalized,” Adepa also pointed out in a statement.

“Any provincial regulation that extends the prohibitions beyond what was determined by the Congress of the Nation in 2009 goes against the international obligations of the Argentine State, and is, therefore, unconstitutional,” the organization added.

Regarding a constitutional reform underway in the province of La Rioja, Adepa warned about “the risk of limiting freedom of speech and press” because it may end up “establishing some kind of restriction” to those rights.

“The concern is aggravated by the statements of La Rioja Governor Ricardo Quintela, who when opening this week the sessions of the Constituent Convention of the province -whose mandate is to approve a reform to the Riojan magna carta- referred to the regulation of the independent press as one of its key aspects,” Adepa stressed.

Opening the constituent convention, Quintela asked the media to be “aware of their role in the formation of public opinion and constructive debate, knowing the serious consequences of transmitting biased, malicious or injurious messages, by sowing hatred and false news.”

“That is why another aspect to be discussed is freedom of expression and governance. We are far from censorship, but we must defend respect and truth, and, in this sense, we believe it is appropriate to link the journalistic task with governance,” Quintela argued.

Categories: Politics, Argentina.

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