Dominican Republic

No breaches of press freedom were reported in this period. But the president renewed public criticism of journalists in pejorative terms. The Chamber of Deputies took up a bill to amend the Press Law that had been sent to Congress by the president following a clause-by-clause review by a special commission made up of news company executives, representatives of the Journalists Colegio and lawyers specializing in legislation affecting the press. During the congressional debate, the Journalists Colegio changed course and raised objections to many of the points already agreed on, then made new proposals. This delayed passage of the bill, which would amend the existing law dating from 1962. In addition, the Colegio submitted a draft bill to amend the law that created the Colegio. The draft was seen as an attempt to reintroduce licensing of journalists – something that was declared unconstitutional by the Dominican Supreme Court some years ago. A number of lawyer and legislator organizations introduced a bill in Congress on access to official sources, using as an example similar legislation in other countries. The 1994 disappearance of columnist Narciso González, who wrote under the pen name Narcisazo, remains a mystery. He disappeared after sharply criticizing the then president, Joaquín Balaguer, and senior military officers. The case is in the hands of an investigating magistrate, but the investigation has been stalled for years.