Dominican Republic

73rd General Assembly
Salt Lake City, Utah
There are two legislative bills that seek to introduce some clauses that would limit the practice of journalism and regulate the use of social media during electoral campaigns.

A package of laws is under study by a Congressional two-chamber commission on the definition of what are news media, the reach of freedom of expression and the right to privacy, honor and good name, with punishments that remain current in the Penal Code.

Various political parties grouped together in the Permanent Forum of Political Parties submitted a request to the Central Electoral Board to regulate the use of false accounts in social media for the 2020 general elections. They ask that this proposal be included in the new electoral law and parties law, currently under study.

The Dominican Newspapers Society appointed a committee of jurists to discuss the issue with the Congressional two-chamber commission.

Regarding the atmosphere in which reporters carry out their work this continues being affected by the episodes of physical and disrespectful abuses and death threats on the part of authorities and members of the public.

Some 30 journalists and cameramen have been the victims of attacks.

The National Public Spectacles and Radio Commission accused journalist Claudia Pérez Ramírez of the program "Eficiencia social" (Social Efficiency) on Canal 45 Teleradio América of uttering vulgar and discriminatory expressions against the Dominican Republic President and Attorney General.

Álvaro Arvelo Hijo, host of the program "El gobierno de la Mañana" (Tomorrow's Government) on radio station Z-101, was prohibited from speaking on the radio for 20 days because of offensive remarks against Juan Pablo Duarte, one of the nation's founders.

Both journalists were prohibited from speaking for several days in their respective programs for having used vulgar and defamatory language. For its part, the Duartiano Institute accused Arvelo of violating Article 6 of Law 127-01 and the regulations of the Public Spectacles and Radio National Commission. Meanwhile, this body called on the owners, directors, hosts, managers or those connected to various television channels and programs to regulate the airing of contents.

The NGO Participación Ciudadana (Citizen Participation) complained that there are being imposed obstacles to compliance with the general law on free access to public information, which has been in effect for 13 years. It declared that no political party is complying with this law's mandate, many institutions do not publish the official personnel list in clear and up-to-date form, while the budgets and their execution are published in closed formats. It added that the public institutions limit information about the processes of purchases and contracting. It proposed the creation of an autonomous, independent body with special powers and competences so that it serves in the role of control, socialization and dissemination of the right of access to public information.