Nicaragua proposes hostile media legislation

The Sandinista government in Nicaragua has proposed legislation says the IAPA that would cause “absurd censorship, self-censorship and serious repression of journalists and the news media.”

The bill was proposed Feb. 3 to include in the Penal Code the offenses of “femicide” and “media violence,” which would be used to prevent women from being disparaged and satirized.

Fines could be as much as 300 days’ wages on “the owner of a news media outlet, the person or social communicator who in the exercise of his or her profession offends, libels, satirizes or denigrates a woman through a news media outlet for the mere fact of being a woman.” The bill would also require the offender to apologize publicly in the same media for the same amount of time or space.

The chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Robert Rivard, said, “Protection of women and any person in the media is already established under normal libel laws, so there is no need for special legislation that could later be used to the detriment of freedom of the press.”

Rivard, editor of the San Antonio Express-News, Texas, added that the legislative debate is putting the blame for violence against women on the media.

It’s no real surprise that the Ortega administration would propose such legislation. The Sandinistas have never been an organization that supported free and independent media.

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Filed under Censorship, Central America, Press Freedom

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