Report to the 75th General Assembly of the IAPA

October 4 – 7, 2019

Coral Gables, Florida

A serious attack against press freedom was recorded in Chile in the last period. On the occasion of a parade convened internationally by climate change, three press teams from different channels - National Television, Chilevisión and CNN - were attacked by a mob of participants in the march, who stole or destroyed their equipment, beat them and, in some cases, they stabbed them. The violence that broke out during the protest has been condemned by the authorities, by the representative organizations of the press and journalists and by the organizers of "Friday for Future" in Chile. President Sebastián Piñera said that it was not only an attack against public order, but against freedom of expression, since it was a concerted attack on the press. The government filed a criminal complaint against those responsible.

In addition to this incident, the media must continue to endure threats that come from bills submitted by parliamentarians or by the government

Among those legislative initiatives the following stand out: There be created the Agency of Protection of Personal Data that regulates the protection and treatment of those data, incorporating rights of the owners, complaint procedures, among other matters. There is excluded the treatment of personal data that is done in the exercise of freedoms of giving an opinion and of informing of the news media. The problem will be presented when the data or information is of this kind or when it is not. Another project establishes strong restrictions on advertising of alcoholic drinks (it practically prohibits it) and another does so with medications, making the media responsible for their dissemination.

Another project establishes the right of women to a life free of violence. It is pointed out that the authority will have to determine the manner in which the media must comply with the promotion of this right. There also exist other projects that have not been so advanced, but that restrict one or another way freedom of expression, that is: restriction of the use of images of youngsters that do not have the authorization of their parents; use of negative stereotypes of the woman; "negation" regarding the violations of human rights after the 1973 coup d'état; and, among others, obligatory nature of sign language for television news media.

Several additional risks affect the sustainability of the media, among them the appropriation or use of contents on the part of technological intermediaries without authorization or payment for copyright. The same thing happens with news agencies that offer the service of compiling news notes, reproducing them for profit, often without quoting sources.

News organizations believe in the importance of emphasizing the traditional media versus those that work informally, principally the digital ones, which do not give assurance of responsibility for their contents and that are not subject to the rules that govern the traditional media, as for example having a mechanism of self-regulation.

The right to forget is still worrying due to the lack of clear rules and disparity of jurisprudential criteria. It has generated the presentation of protection resources for people who request the removal by the media of old news or its update on the websites of the media or, even, from Google search engines. A specific case is a recent ruling that forces a Chilean media to rectify a news item published more than 45 years ago, during which time Chile was governed by a de facto government, in which the medium was limited to disseminate the only official information that existed at that time, lawfully exercising the freedom to express an opinion and report without prior censorship.

Several magazines have disappeared from circulation due to poor economic results. This phenomenon has deepened the debate about the importance of paper versus the use of digital products. The presidents of advertising companies highlight the importance of the role for the work of journalism, but their younger teams are inclined to advertise in digital media.