JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS

A News Blog

TOPIC: laws


The Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression at the Organization of American States (OAS), Carolina Botero, outlined 13 aspects of the proposed Communication Law that need to be changed or clarified, Hoy reports. read more »

The Venezuelan vice president, Elías Jaua, asked the National Assembly to include in the reform of the General Bank Law a provision prohibiting shareholders of financial institutions from participating in communications enterprises, reported El Nacional. read more »

President Barack Obama on Tuesday signed into law a measure to protect U.S. journalists, writers and publishers from libel lawsuits filed in other countries, reported the news agency AFP.

Known as "libel tourism," the new law will shield journalists from suits filed in countries with fewer freedom of speech rights than those provided in the United States. read more »

The organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) said it is important to change parts of the proposed communications law in Ecuador in order to protect freedom of expression. read more »

The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) questioned a proposed law that applies harsh sanctions to media outlets that publish content that affects minors.

IAPA said the bill could restrict freedom of expression, especially with provisions that punish offenders with temporary or permanent closure and hefty fines. read more »

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva issued a decree that created an intergovernmental commission to propose changes to the regulatory system that governs broadcast media, O Estado de S. Paulo reports. read more »

Ecuador's communication bill has entered, in theory, the final stretch, but ruling and opposition forces remain at odds, divided over the proposal's future, reported El Comercio. read more »

Other Related Headlines:
» A law that will not help journalism (Opinion) (El Universo)
» Obsession for control (Opinión) (Hoy)

President Evo Morales enacted an electoral law that is drawing criticism from the opposition and the press for being a gag for the media during election times, reported La Razón.

The new rule applies to elections, referendums and local propositions; limits the publication of surveys/polls; and prohibits the dissemination of partial election results, explained the agency DPA. read more »

There are several new updates in the political process surrounding Ecuador’s polemic Communications Law:

The deadline for a final version of the bill has been extended to July 2nd, giving legislators 12 days to add or remove provisions, Hoy reports. read more »

Journalists in Canada have no constitutional right to guarantee their sources' confidentiality, the nation’s highest court ruled. In a landmark decision, the court ruled 8-1 that journalists can offer sources protection, but if prosecutors later demand to know the identity of those sources, the courts will decide the merits of those promises on a case-by-case basis, Reuters reports.

"No journalist can give a secret source an absolute assurance of confidentiality," the judges ruled Friday. read more »

Representatives of social movements and political and human rights organizations protested in Buenos Aires this week in defense of the broadcast reform law that was passed last October but suspended due to a court ruling in March, La Nación and EFE reported. read more »

Senators from the three main parties are considering harsh new sanctions on news organizations. Three separate bills under study by commissions in both chambers of Congress would guarantee the right of reply in cases where media transmit inaccurate, false, or offensive information, El Universal reports. read more »

At its midyear meeting in Aruba, the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) warned of a strong deterioration in press freedom in the region, with the worst wave of violence in many years, the persistent violation of freedom of expression, and the growing approval of laws that restrict the press. read more »

The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) expects to convene 250 editors and publishers from throughout the Americas at its mid-year meeting in Aruba, March 19-22. In addition to its reports on the state of press freedom and freedom of expression, the sessions will examine the role of social networks and the media in earthquake-stricken Haiti, and ways to help news organizations and journalists there. read more »

Other Related Headlines:
» Freedom of expression loses ground in some countries, IAPA president says (El Universal)

President Rafael Correa partially vetoed a proposed Citizen Participation Law and suggested a measure that would permit citizens to request accountability from the media once a year, similar to that of public enterprises, reportó El Tiempo reports.

For Correa, media are a public service and should be accountable to the population, El Universo adds. read more »

» Ecuador postpones debate on disputed media bill—December 2009 (Knight Center)
» Ecuador’s main dailies make collective call for press freedom —November 2009 (Knight Center)

The chair of the Science, Technology, and Media Committee in the National Assembly, Manuel Villalba, denied claims by El Nacional that the ruling party plans to put forth a bill to censor the web, El Universal reports in Spanish and English. read more »

Other Related Headlines:
» Multiple ways to access internet makes regulation difficult (Spanish) (El Carabobeño)

Transparency and accountability are inconvenient concepts in Mexico. The government's proposal to reform the Law of Access to Public Information could threaten the right of access to public information in Mexico. read more »

Other Related Headlines:
» Transparency and access to information in Mexico (The National Security Archive/George Washington University)
» Mexico's federal transparency and access to public information law (translation) (The National Security Archive)

The Supreme Court has repealed an article of the 1902 Press Law, which established prison sentences for journalists and media owners convicted of libel and slander, La Nación and Diario Extra report. The Committee to Protect Journalists has this story in English. read more »

Twitter users in Mexico City have angered authorities by tweeting the locations of roadside Breathalyzer checkpoints, and kidnappers and drug traffickers are using Facebook and MySpace to communicate. Federal lawmakers have responded by proposing a bill to restrict social networking sites and to create a police force to monitor them, GlobalPost reports. read more »

Other Related Headlines:
» Twitter to be banned in Mexico? (Seattle PI blogs)
» Twitter, enemy of the breathalyzer? (Spanish) (Associated Press)

President Evo Morales supports a bill proposed by the ruling party that would remove a reporter's right to keep sources secret while maintaining special courts that rule specifically on media crimes, La Prensa reports. read more »