APA Midyear Meeting 2017

Antigua Guatemala, Guatemala

March 31 – April 3


The main concern related to freedom of expression in this period was over the proposed anti-defamation law, which was passed unanimously by the Senate in March without consulting media associations, owners, or publishers. The initiative will now be discussed by the Chamber of Deputies.

The proposed law, which consists of 23 articles grouped into four chapters, purports to "protect the physical and moral integrity and honor of all persons, as well as to provide a legal framework for the press and any other generator of propaganda."

One article is devoted to responsibilities related to defamation through the press and insults of public authorities. "If the offense is of such a nature that it warrants a punishment of forced labor," the text says, "the culprit shall be sentenced to one to three years in prison."

Article 2 of the proposed law states that "the offense of defamation is committed by anyone who, at a public location or gathering, whether through printed matter or by radio broadcast, audiovisual media, or electronic means, accuses a natural or legal person of acts that represent an attack on that person's honor and consideration."