30 May 2012

Committee to Protect Journalists vows to fight criminal defamation in Americas

Is civil law enough to set a journalist straight in cases of alleged libel and slander? The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) thinks so, as evidenced by "Critics Are Not Criminals," CPJ's new campaign to help fight the criminalisation of speech in the Americas.

According to CPJ, for more than a decade, courts throughout the region have found that "civil remedies provide adequate redress in cases of alleged libel and slander." A special resource page lists all the different declarations and court cases that prove this point.

Unfortunately, some governments in the region continue to use archaic criminal defamation laws to silence dissent. Cue Ecuador: last year President Rafael Correa led the charges against a former editor and three owners of "El Universo", who were fined US$40 million and sentenced to three years in prison in a libel case. (He only dropped the charges after making a public mockery of "El Universo".)

Learn more about CPJ's campaign on the Critics Are Not Criminals campaign page and by following CPJ's posts using the hashtag #defamation on Twitter (in English or Spanish). And join the Twitter campaign by using the #defamation to raise awareness and flag violations.

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