Report - Mid-Year Meeting April 17 - 19, 2024

During this period, disturbing signals were recorded and generated by officials, public figures, and some groups of militants who used the courts to obtain protection and thus silence journalists and the media.

In recent months, multiple criminal and civil complaints have been filed against journalists, the written press, and television, demanding millions in compensation.

In March, a fashion designer sued the Argentine newspaper La Nación and its correspondent, Nelson Fernández, also director of the "Subrayado" program on Channel 10, for publishing a news item described as "totally false." The claim for damages is for US$85,000 for two articles dated March 16 and 17, 2020, about the COVID-19 pandemic and the designer's liability for having attended a wedding after contracting the disease in Europe. The first infected people appeared from that wedding, according to what was revealed on social networks and the media.

A former accountant hired by the National Secretariat for the Fight against Money Laundering sued in civil justice for million-dollar reparations against various programs broadcast in 2020: "Polemica en el bar" on Channel 10; "Séptimo día" from Teledoce and "Santo y Seña," from Channel 4, and against Orlando Petinatti, host of "Bad thoughts," from Azul FM. The channels' lawyers argued that the lawsuits did not comply with the time limits since the press law establishes a period of up to 90 days for that type of claim.

In civil matters, the Second Court of Appeals considered that the 90-day period applies only to the right of response and not to damages or other civil or criminal actions derived from the communication. The official also initiated legal actions against "Esta boca es mia" on Teledoce and "All the Voices" on Channel 4. Still, in those cases, the appeal courts ruled in favor of the media and the appeal for expiration.

A prosecutor in charge of the case of a former senator accused of sexual exploitation of a teenager denounced journalist Ignacio Álvarez for extortion. Álvarez, host of the program "Santo y Seña" on Channel 4, assured that he would demonstrate that the prosecutor has an incorrect treatment with the victims by anticipating information. He said the prosecutor ordered a victim to break her cell phone to delete communications that could harm her.

In the city of Tacuarembó, Judge José Ignacio Silvestri annulled the complaint against journalists Sebastián Ríos and Jorge del Pino, from radio La Kandela, whom prosecutor Irene Penza intended to sentence to prison for defamation and insults. According to the annulment ruling, the prosecutor acted in "flagrant departure" from what the law provides in procedural matters.