06 October 2014

Ban on Honduran journalist brings IAPA protest

It calls for decriminalization of defamation Miami (October 4, 2014)— The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) said today that it regrets the inaction by the  Honduras government on promises made that libel, calumny and defamation will no longer be considered criminal offenses. The IAPA comment came after it learned of a new sentence last week in which journalist Julio Ernesto Alvarado was ordered to stop working as a journalist for 16 months. In an earlier ruling he was required to pay a fine in lieu of a prison sentence on a charge of defamation. The charges against Alvarado date back to 2012 after he voiced opinions and held interviews on his program “Mi Nación” (My Nation) on Globo TV concerning the alleged unlawful appointment of a dean at the Honduras Autonomous National University (UNAM). The chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Claudio Paolillo, recalled that during an international conference held by the IAPA in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in August 2012, President Porfirio Lobo had made a commitment to support the decriminalization of libel, calumny and defamation. Paolillo, editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, regretted that “Honduras has not embraced the positive Latin American trend toward making defamation no longer a criminal offense.” He added that this is “an opportunity for countries to coordinate their laws with the provisions of the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights.” He added that “to suspend the ability of a journalist to work is equivalent to returning to the most absurd forms of censorship that used to be practiced in past centuries.” The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 print publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida. For more information please go to http://www.sipiapa.org.