Miami (January 17, 2020) - The Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) expressed concern about a possible judicial reform in Mexico that would turn defamation into a criminal offense, returning the country to an environment where journalists could go to jail for exercising their right to inform, criticize or comment.
IAPA had expressed its approval in 2007 when Mexico decriminalized defamation, helping to create a favorable trend for press freedom in Latin America.
The president of IAPA, Christopher Barnes, director of The Gleaner of Kingston, Jamaica, together with the president of the Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Roberto Rock, director of the Mexican web portal, La Silla Rota, requested that the government and the legislative power in Mexico in discussing the possible judicial reform, before the Senate of the Republic in February, observe and maintain adherence to international principles regarding freedom of expression.
The IAPA executives suggested that the government observe the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), which states that "reputation protection must be guaranteed only through civil sanctions".
For decades, IAPA, along with other organizations dedicated to press freedom, have urged governments to decriminalize defamation to prevent jail sentences from being used to neutralize the journalistic exercise and freedom of the press.
In the Americas, several countries have decriminalized defamation, including Argentina, Bermuda, Chile (partial), El Salvador, Grenada, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Dominican Republic (partial) and Uruguay. In Honduras and other countries in the region bills are being discussed so that crimes against honor will be disputed in civil courts.
The IAPA is a non-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 publications from the Western Hemisphere; and is based in Miami, United States. For more information, please visit http://www.sipiapa.org