Report to the Midyear Meeting 2023
April, 25-27

Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are highly vulnerable due to initiatives of the ruling party in Congress aimed at controlling and limiting the messages of citizens and journalists.

The ruling party proposes to increase the prison sentence for journalists and media owners from five to seven years for allegedly disseminating racist messages. The proposal ignores the protections offered by the Political Constitution of the State (CPE) and the Printing Press Law, which allow special courts to hear lawsuits against media and journalists while ruling out the application of prison sentences.

On April 12, an official legislator withdrew a proposal to regulate social networks. The National Press Association (ANP) warned that the bill contained open prior censorship, contrary to international treaties and the Constitution. The ANP considers that the restrictions on citizens' rights and the work of the press coincided with a moment in which different sectors are questioning government policies on public education issues and the administration of retirement funds.

Independent newspapers continue to be subject to tax persecution through controls and inspections after they publish content critical of government policies or opinions of opposition sectors against governmental provisions in economic, judicial, and social matters.

Impunity persists in cases of aggression against journalists. So far, none of the complaints have resulted in sanctions against those responsible. The most emblematic case is the release of three material and intellectual authors of the kidnapping of six journalists, an event on October 28, 2021, and still under investigation.