Three journalists convicted of criminal defamation

JULY 27, 2006
Posted August 8, 2006

Anaylis Cañizales, “Los dueños del circo”
Enrique Crespo, “Los dueños del circo”
Alí David Demey, “Los dueños del circo”


A Santo Domingo judge found Cañizales, Crespo, and Demey guilty of criminal defamation, after charges were brought in June by the Association of Art Reporters (Acroarte). The journalists were sentenced to 15 days in jail each. Crespo and Demey were fined 4 million Dominican pesos (US$121,000), and Cañizales was fined 2 million Dominican pesos (US$60,500).

Acroarte alled that the hosts of “Los dueños el circo,” an entertainment opinion program aired nightly on local cable television, made defamatory comments from January to March. The organization accused the three of saying that the Casandra Awards, given every year by Acroarte to local entertainers, were manipulated and that awardees had paid judges large sums of money. Acroarte said the statements were untrue.

Crespo told CPJ that he and his colleagues would appeal the decision. Crespo said “Los dueños del circo” simply gave voice to other people’s comments and did not defame anyone.