(newsroompanama.com) Panama’s Attorney General Giuseppe Bonissi wants to return libel and slander cases to the criminal courts.
He plans to recommend to the Supreme Court that a recent change to the criminal code that decriminalized so-called honor crimes against politicians be declared unconstitutional.
The change decriminalized “honor” crimes, namely slander and libel, in cases involving elected officials. The law stated that such cases could, instead, be handled by the civil court system.
An appeal of unconstitutionality has been filed by Presidential spokesman Alfred Prieto, who has sued sports commentator Juan Carlos Tapia for slander. The case cannot move forward unless the change is declared unconstitutional.
Bonissi bases his argument on that fact that the constitution declares that all people should be treated equally under the law.
But journalism groups have condemned that view, as newspapers and other media were flooded with such claims from politicians before the law was passed.
National Council for Journalism President Guillermo Antonio Adames said that President Ricardo Martinelli should be made aware that "freedom of expression is a mark of democracy.
""It is incomprehensible that Bonissi has decided to take this position, as it will lead to a confrontation with the media inside the country, and abroad," he said. Guido Rodríguez President of the Forum of Journalistssaid the decision is a "calamity."
Original Source: newsroompanama.com
Date Retrieved: October 3, 2010.