Argentina II

WHEREAS the publishing company of the newspaper El Tribuno of Salta, Horizontes S.A., was notified on February 2, 2004 of a ruling by Judge Guillermo Félix Díaz that imposes a series of restrictions on its news reporting, in a court case that has shaken the community of Salta WHEREAS this measure was taken at the request of the attorney for Francisco José Álvarez, who was tried and subsequently acquitted in the 1994 murder of bus driver José Antonio Morales, in a case that generated a considerable amount of public interest WHEREAS the newspaper El Tribuno, exercising its right to inform the public, reported on the events and disseminated opinions in order to satisfy the public’s legitimate right to be informed WHEREAS Judge Díaz stated in his ruling that the newspaper should “refrain from using expressions, sentences, phrases or words that might entail an encroachment on the presumption of a person’s innocence, and from publishing that person’s photograph” WHEREAS the judge also ruled that failure to comply with this order would incur a “warning judgment” consisting of a fine of 5,000 pesos for each case WHEREAS this court ruling is a clear attempt to impose prior restraint on a newspaper and displays the heavy-handed tendencies that lead some judges to assume the role of censors to protect certain individual rights WHEREAS Principle 5 of the Declaration of Chapultepec states, “Prior censorship, restrictions on the circulation of the media or dissemination of their reports, forced publication of information, the imposition of obstacles to the free flow of news, and restrictions on the activities and movements of journalists directly contradict freedom of the press” THE MIDYEAR MEETING OF THE IAPA RESOLVES to address the justice system in Salta to express the IAPA’s most emphatic disapproval of this measure by Judge Guillermo Félix Díaz, as it constitutes a blatant act of censorship in violation of Article 14 of the Argentine Constitution and Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights to express the IAPA’s hope that respect for freedom of expression and freedom of the press will prevail in the superior courts of the justice system in Salta and that this decision will be reversed and vacated.