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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Mexican newspaper loses libel lawsuit against magazine




On Wednesday, Nov. 23, the Mexican Supreme Court denied the appeal of the newspaper La Jornada that had sued the weekly magazine Letras Libres for defamation, according to El Economista.

In March 2004, the magazine Letras Libres published a column, Accomplices of Terror, that criticized a supposed alliance between the Spanish newspaper Gara -- the supposed political arm of the terrorist group ETA -- and the Mexican newspaper La Jornada. In a subsequent edition, the magazine published a letter from Carmen Lira Saade, editor of La Jornada, who said the column was libelous. La Jornada then sued the magazine for moral damages, alleging the column had hurt the newspaper's reputation, according to La Silla Rota.

The ruling from the Supreme Court said that “ freedom of expression enjoys a preferential position before the right to honor,” adding that La Jornada, as a media outlet, "enjoys the widest freedom to rebuke the actions of public figures, but should also tolerate a wide scrutiny regarding its own behavior," reported the blog Avance MX. The ruling cannot be appealed and puts end to the seven years of litigation between the two publications.

The ruling "is not a reward or punishment for the editorial lines of the two parties. In any case, it is a decisive step in favor of the plurality of voices and promotes an open debate of ideas and opinions," said the organization Article 19 in reference to the case.



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