El Salvador's Supreme Court cuts back press freedom

An article in the Latin American Herald Tribune describes a recent court decision in El Salvador which limits protections which the press might have to suits by people who do not like what is written:

SAN SALVADOR – El Salvador’s Supreme Court ruled that the media and television station owners, editors and managers may be brought to trial for slander, injury or defamation in a decision interpreted as a blow against press freedom.

The high court’s Constitutional Chamber issued a 4-1 decision on Friday regarding the “unconstitutionality” of the third clause within Article 191 of the Criminal Code, which guarantees protection against criminal rulings against the press, Supreme Court spokesman Mario Larin said.

In reaction to the ruling, the country’s main dailies, including El Diario de Hoy, La Prensa Grafica and El Mundo, agreed that the decision constitutes a “blow to freedom of expression.”

“The ruling of four justices will foment fear and intolerance,” warned El Diario de Hoy, while El Mundo wrote that “it removes the protection from owners, managers, editors and people in charge” of media outlets.

“That clause protects a certain group, only managers, owners, editors and chiefs of media outlets? According to basic principles of the law, when any regulation is made, the lawmaker has to think that it will be general, that it will be for everyone, it cannot be specified,” Larin said.

The decision eliminates a type of “exemption” which this group enjoyed, Larin said, adding that it ran counter to the principle of the “constitution, which says that the law is equal for all.”

He also said that freedom of expression cannot be “above the other rights, like that of reputation and privacy.”

The initiator of the challenge to section of Article 191, is Salvadoran businessman, Roberto Bukele. Bukele, is the owner of the McDonald's franchise in San Salvador who has had a long-running legal dispute with the McDonald's corporation.

I have not seen any legal guidance on whether the owner of a blog which deals with El Salvador is protected from suit for the things he might write.....


Guevara said…
El Salvadorean Press is defamatory and fear mongering, with no facts but pure propaganda; constantly inductrinating the people of El Salvador with fear in the front pages or with their negative opinions in their editorials, denying an oposite point of view.

El Diario de Hoy is regular and La Prensa Grafica is decaf, that is the difference between both of them, but nothing else.

El Diario and La Prensa are the best at yellow journalism,it looks like they stole the play book from TMZ and FOX NEWS ( Fear and violece).

There is nothing wrong to have an opinion, or report the news that is necessary, but when it comes to pure propaganda, the press is not good.

And that is what El Diario de Hoy, La Prensa Grafica and TCS do...