Report to the IAPA 77 General Assembly Virtual
October 19-22

This period has been strongly influenced by the constituent process and the general elections of November 21.

On July 4, the Constitutional Convention started to work, and in three months it approved its operating regulations. On October 18 - the second anniversary of the "social upheaval" - began the debate on the content of the future Constitution.

Citing health reasons, the authorities limited media access to certain areas of debate and to the building itself - limiting journalists to the online feed of the Convention. Some Convention members complained about this restriction, but others justified it - so that the media could not discredit the institution. After the protests of journalistic associations and guilds, the media regained access.

On July 26, the Media Federation - which includes the National Press Association (ANP), the National Television Association (ANATEL) and Radio Broadcasters of Chile (ARCHI) - condemned the use of posters near the Convention headquarters and on social networks, with photographs and names of journalists - accusing them of inadequately reporting on the constituent process.

During the discussion on the Ethics Regulations, two rules were approved which - although applicable to the Convention members - could have repercussions on the status of freedom of expression in the future Constitution. One penalizes the convention members for acts of denialism - defined as any "action or omission that justifies, denies or minimizes, makes apology or glorifies the crimes against humanity that occurred in Chile between September 11, 1973 and March 10, 1990, and the human rights violations that took place in the context of the social outbreak of October 2019 and thereafter." And another penalizes "any action or omission that justifies, denies or minimizes the atrocities and cultural genocide of which the native and Afro-descendant peoples have been victims throughout history - during the European colonization and since the constitution of the State of Chile."

Both measures contradict a 2020 decision of the Constitutional Court that declared unconstitutional a bill that criminalizes hate crimes and denialism.

Another regulation that may eventually be replicated in the constitutional text concerns false information. Disinformation is defined as "the expression, through any physical or digital media, of a statement that is presented as real, knowing - or should have known - it to be false." The concern is that this definition will require the Ethics Commission to determine the "official truth," while the term "knowing - or should have known - it to be false" is ambiguous.

The ANP is working to demand from the press clipping companies that the material extracted has the authorization of the media - as well as the payment of the corresponding rights. The ANP has suggested the Government, the Comptroller General of the Republic and private companies that when contracting clipping services, they should ensure they are acquiring content of legal origin - pursuant to the law that protects copyrights.

On September 21, Chilean newspapers adhered to the public statement issued by the IAPA in collaboration with media associations from across the Americas, to denounce the damage suffered by the media due to the use of their content by digital platforms.