Dominican Republic

Report to the Midyear Meeting 2023
April, 25-27

Several actions in favor of more protection of press freedom and access to public information generated signs of encouragement for the practice of journalism this semester.

The government of President Luis Abinader, through its General Directorate of Ethics and Government Integrity, announced that it would sanction more than 20 official institutions that did not comply with the Law on Access to Public Information in recent months. He gave until June 30 for the organizations to comply with all the requests; otherwise, he said that he would apply administrative sanctions, with the suspension of resources in the budget, as contemplated by Law 200-04 and an official resolution of 2021.

It also summoned another 52 state institutions to improve their compliance with the transparency index.

The entities that have breached this law are the two chambers of Congress, the Central Electoral Board, and the Attorney General's Office.

In April, the national and international round of consultations by a multisectoral advisory commission to debate the draft reform and update of Law 6132 on press freedom, which has been in force since 1962, concluded. Its submission to the National Congress as an initiative of the Executive Power is imminent.

This widely agreed law establishes guarantees for the exercise of journalism on any platform, regulations for audiovisual media, and the creation of the National Institute of Audiovisual Communication. The new entity, of an autonomous nature, will protect and promote the right to freedom of expression and information and establish regulations on public policies, norms, and procedures in applying the law.

In November, the announcement by the National Police that it would create a commission to "detect, in digital media, the propagation of false, manipulated or out-of-contextualized information about crime" caused a stir and opposition.

The purpose, said the police headquarters at the time, would be "to prevent this information from generating panic in the population." He added that he would monitor internet and social media accounts that spread dubious content.

The Police later reconsidered their decision after being warned that this practice was not within their powers.