Puerto Rico

Occurring in this period was political maneuvering through the legislative bodies which created a threatening atmosphere in that attempts were made to shape and criminalize some of the work of the online media. Such is the case of a bill before the Puerto Rico Senate that would establish “online offenses.” If adopted, this would mean that a media outlet could face criminal charges for publishing government documents of public interest that some official bureaucrat “understands” are of a confidential nature and whose publication supposedly harms the government. Under this intended law such documents acquired by a journalist through reliable sources would be regarded as “theft” or the handling of stolen documents, a punishable act. The initiative is at the public airing stage, to which the main news media have not been invited, including El Nuevo Día, but in which the Center for Press Freedom, the Association of Journalists of Puerto Rico and the Overseas Press Club have taken the stance of denouncing the attempt on freedom of the press. In another development, El Nuevo Día news photographer Angel Rivera was attacked on February 9 by members of the Guaynabo Municipal Police as he was taking photos of an arrest being carried out by them outside a sports stadium there. In the police attack Rivera’s camera equipment was partially destroyed. Several minutes later a civilian suspected of having a relationship with the police followed Rivera and physically and verbally assaulted him. The case is under investigation.