Puerto Rico


IAPA Midyear Meeting 2018

Medellín, Colombia

In this period the Executive Branch has submitted to the Legislative Assembly a bill for a Law on Transparency that for the first time would legislate on access by the press and the public to information in the hands of the government. The Legislative Branch has so far not dealt with it.

Although the government insists on being in favor of transparency in public matters it holds back information in certain cases of contracting, defending the "authorized privilege concerning deliberative processes" in order to preserve information that could be considered public.

There continue requests by people to the newspaper El Nuevo Día for it to de-index certain old stories which, they allege, have ceased to have public relevance. At the same time for the first time a court recognizes the right to oblivion, under certain circumstances. The court ruled that the notes that are accessible to search engines contain the photo, name and home address of the plaintiff. Therefore the court does not recognize the right to oblivion, but rather the protection of information to prevent identity theft of citizens under the protection of constitutional right to intimacy and honor. "In particular, when there occur events that change the relevance of published information and, despite that, it is permitted that the Internet search engines capture this information and reveal it in the search results."

"In view of the fact that in the present case there has not been requested the elimination of the published news nor the modification of its content, we are not faced with violation of freedom of expression or of the press .... What is sought is to prevent the undefined dissemination through the Internet search engines of the personal information of the [plaintiff] linked to news that accuses him or her of a crime. That is to say, prevent the linking of his or her personal data contained in the note when there is held a general consultation in the Internet search engines."

Although freedom of expression enables the plaintiffs to have this journalistic note in their online libraries, in this case to allow the linking of the note with personal details of the plaintiff in an undefined form constitutes an attack on his or her honor and reputation.

There continues in effect a program which, through extraordinary request to the Supreme Court or lower court, allows the news media to report the cases. In a recent case against a prominent mayor accused of sexual offenses the Court did not allow reporting by the press, alleging that a victim claimed that she would be publicly harmed.