Judicial Harassment

JUDICIAL HARASSMENT WHEREAS judicial harassment and intimidation against the press of the Caribbean and Central and South America are increasing WHEREAS trials of the press for many offenses are increasing, among them application of criminal laws about individuals’ privacy and honor and the honor of high public officials, all based on questionable interpretations of the laws WHEREAS criminal penalties against journalists and newspapers carry prison sentences and in some cases fines and awards of damages that threaten the existence of newspapers and gravely affect freedom of expression, press freedom and the citizens’ right to information as well as causing self-censorship by the media WHEREAS there have been confirmed cases of conflicting judgments, some to protect a press complicit with governments, intelligence services and police, and attacking the independent press, and others to censure and punish the independent press WHEREAS Principle 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec condemns pressures, intimidation and unjust imprisonment of journalists because they severely restrict press freedom WHEREAS Principle 5 of the Declaration of Chapultepec rejects establishment of obstacles to the free flow of news because they directly contradict press freedom THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF THE IAPA RESOLVES to ask the Chapultepec Committee to continue its efforts to analyze and compare the legislation and case law of the nations of the Caribbean, Central and South America to ask the committee to continue publicizing doctrines such as that of actual malice among the region’s judicial officials to also ask it to hold seminars for judges and legal experts to exchange ideas about topics related to press freedom.