“Freedom of expression in all its forms and manifestations is a fundamental and inalienable right of all individuals. Additionally, it is an indispensable requirement for the very existence of a democratic society.”–Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Principles of Freedom of Expression.
Criminal defamation prosecutions are still widespread throughout the Americas. A total of 32 out of 33 countries in the hemisphere maintain criminal penalties for defamation.
Courts and legislatures throughout the Americas have increasingly found that defamation should be a civil, not criminal, matter.
In special reports, blog posts, and protest letters, CPJ has denounced criminal defamation as a tool to silence critical coverage.
Freedom of expression groups are fighting against the criminalization of speech. Look here for background and contact information.