Criminal Defamation Laws in South America

Contents
Critics Are Not Criminals: Comparative Study of Criminal Defamation Laws in the Americas

I. Argentina

A. Criminal Laws Restricting Freedom of Expression

Argentina's Law 26.551 of November 2009 amended articles 109 to 117 of the Criminal Code to eliminate criminal sanctions for libel and slander, replacing them with monetary penalties.

1. Libel

Libel consists of "attributing to another person a specific crime" that is subject to "ex officio prosecution"375—that is, that the State may begin the prosecution without a criminal complaint from the affected individual. Libel may result in fines varying from 3,000 to 30,000 Argentinean pesos (equivalent to US$380 to US$3,800).376

2. Slander

Slander consists of "intentionally dishonoring or discrediting" a person, and may be punished with fines ranging from 1,500 pesos to 20,000 pesos (approximately between US$190 and US$2,500).377

B. Enforcement of Criminal Defamation Laws

A number of cases in Argentina indicate a change of perception concerning the punishment of journalists on the basis of libel and slander. These cases have also helped pressure Congress to decriminalize libel and slander in cases concerning matters of "public interest"—that is, matters that concern the community as a whole or the public good. However, in what has been viewed as a setback, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ("IACHR") ruled in 2013 for the first time in the Carlos and Pablo Mémoli v. Argentina case that a criminal sanction for defamation did not affect freedom of expression as established in Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights.378

1. Ricardo Echegaray v. Longoni and Majul

In December 2012, Ricardo Echegaray, the head of the Federal Revenue Administration (AFIP), sued journalists Matías Longoni and Luis Majul for almost $275,000 each, in separate cases, claiming that they had damaged Echegaray's reputation. These reporters had previously written about Echegaray and the AFIP: Longoni's reporting on irregularities by a state office in awarding subsidies previously headed by Echegaray had formed the subject of a 2011 book, while Majul had accused the AFIP of exerting financial pressure on his production company. The press freedom group Argentine Journalism Forum (FOPEA) denounced Echegaray's lawsuits as abuses of the judicial system.379 On January 3, 2013, the newspaper La Nación reported that the Buenos Aires Federal Chamber had annulled the lawsuit against Luis Majul on the basis of a breach of due process.380

2. Carlos Menem v. Editorial Perfil

In 1995, former President Carlos Menem filed a lawsuit against two journalists from Noticias, an Argentine weekly magazine covering politics and social developments, for invasion of privacy. The statements made by the Noticias journalists in Editorial Perfil pertained to President Menem. These reported on the president's alleged out-of-wedlock child, as well as facts concerning financial support to the mother of the child.381 The trial court dismissed the defamation claim; however, the Court of Appeals ordered payment of $150,000 in damages based on the invasion of the president's privacy.382 In September 2011, the Supreme Court of Justice Press confirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals.383 Press freedom groups were concerned that the case could set a negative precedent for privacy issues involving public figures.384 On November 15, 2001, the two journalists applied to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights complaining of a violation of Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights, which protects the right to freedom of thought and expression. The petition was admitted on October 12, 2005 and transferred to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (the "IACHR"). On November 29, 2011, the IACHR issued a judgment unanimously finding that Argentina had violated the journalists' right to freedom of expression under the Convention. In particular the IACHR observed that "the publications carried out by the magazine Noticias regarding the elected pubic official of the highest ranking position in the country involved matters of public interest, which were in the public domain and involving the alleged victim who, by way of his own conduct, had not contributed to protect the information that he later contests."385 The IACHR therefore concluded that the reporting did not constitute an "arbitrary interference" with the right to private life of President Menem.386

C. Application of Criminal Defamation Laws to Internet and Mobile Communications

The country's legal framework and independent courts generally protect online freedom of expression, both in law and in practice, and Argentineans have free access to a wide array of informational sources over the Internet. However, several court decisions in 2010 and 2011 restricted access to websites based on claims of defamation or intellectual property rights violations. One decision led to the accidental blocking of an entire blog-hosting platform. Notably, a series of injunctions issued in 2012 imposed liability on search engines to delete links from the results they present users, based on a theory of "intermediary liability " for the libelous or slanderous content contained in those links. The rulings drew criticism from both freedom of expression advocates and international companies like Google.387 In an important ruling on October 27, 2014, the Argentine Supreme Court ruled that search engines are not liable for linking to defamatory and/or unlawful websites unless the search engine has actual knowledge of the defamatory or infringing content based on notice from a judicial official. Only in cases involving clearly illegal content such as child pornography, a search engine will be held liable for linking to such content.388

D. Status of Criminal Defamation Laws

Libel and slander in cases concerning matters of public interest were decriminalized in 2009 and are no longer punishable by imprisonment, although fines can still be issued where "malice"—defined as a deliberate intention to harm another person—is found.389

Specifically, on November 18, 2009, Argentina adopted Law 26.551, which decriminalized libel and slander. The law amends the country's Criminal Code, eliminating criminal sanctions (such as prison sentences) on the basis of libel and slander in cases concerning matters of public interest, and replacing the sanctions with fines. The law was adopted after a 2008 decision by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that ordered the Argentine government to revise its domestic law to prevent the use of criminal defamation laws to hinder the exercise of freedom of expression in a case concerning journalist Eduardo Kimel.390 Kimel was an Argentine journalist and writer who was convicted of slander and libel after publishing the book The San Patricio Massacre on the assassination of several Palotino priests in the San Patricio church during the Argentine dictatorship.

II. Bolivia

A. Criminal Laws Restricting Freedom of Expression

Bolivia's Penal Code and Press Law currently contain provisions restricting freedom of speech.

1. Defamation

Article 282 of the Penal Code provides that publicly revealing a fact, a quality, or a conduct that may affect the reputation of an individual may be grounds for holding the offender liable.391

2. Calumny

Article 283 of the Penal Code provides that whoever commits calumny, defined as falsely accusing an individual with "committing a crime," may be punished with imprisonment ranging from six months to two years.392

3. Libel

Lastly, Article 287 defines libel as offending another person's "dignity and decorum." This is punishable by community service ranging from one month to a year, and a "días- multa" fine pursuant to Art. 29 of the Criminal Code ranging from 30 to 100 days.393

4. Defenses

Significantly, "the veracity [truth] of the facts" is not considered a defense in a defamation trial. The only relevant legal standard is whether the statement negatively affected someone's reputation.394 A criminal offense can only be prosecuted until ten years from the date when the offense was committed.

Both the President and Congress may exercise a so-called "judicial pardon," under certain circumstances, such as those involving political offenses. Congress is empowered to pardon offenders in either criminal or civil cases, provided the Supreme Court of Justice concurs. In accordance with Article 64 of the Penal Code, for crimes whose sanctions are lower than one year, a first offender may also receive a "judicial pardon" when there is a reasonable probability that the offender will not commit a crime again.395

In addition to Bolivia's Penal Code, the Press Law establishes a distinct way of prosecuting members of the press for crimes that infringe the honor of the victims. Passed in 1920,396 the Press Law's Article 27 concerns cases of libel and slander against individuals. It stipulates that a member of the press (such as a journalist) may choose either to be prosecuted by a body of jurors (called a "printing jury ") or to be prosecuted by an ordinary court and be subjected to the Penal Code's penalties.

In contrast, the Press Law's Article 28 provides that in cases of libel and slander relating to "acts or functions of a public nature,"397 the plaintiff may only sue before a printing jury composed of 40 individuals selected by the City Council.

B. Enforcement of Criminal Defamation Laws

Bolivia's criminal defamation laws are generally enforced and cases against journalists seem to have become more common in past years.

1. Molina v. Peláez

In March 2012, a Bolivian magazine editor was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail for defaming a lawyer named Walter Molina. The editor had accused Molina of unduly collecting attorney fees while representing the government in a case involving a national social security program. Based on the title of the article, "Using the Law to Steal," the editor was convicted of defamation and imprisoned.398 The International Defamation Law Legal Database reported that this conviction "underscores the urgency with which Bolivia must revisit its criminal defamation laws."399

2. The Case of Juan Pastén

In July 2011, sports journalist Juan Pastén was arrested for libel and slander against Jorge Justiniano, president of Bolivia's National Soccer Association (ANF). Pastén had denounced alleged corruption in the management of the ANF's funds.400 After his arrest, Pastén was hospitalized after apparently suffering a nervous breakdown.401 Pastén was ultimately found liable by a Bolivian court for libel, slander and defamation charges according to the Bolivian Penal Code and sentenced to pay a fine of 2,000 Bolivian Boliviano (approximately US$290).402

3. The Case of Agencia de Noticias Fides and Página Siete

In August 2012, the government of President Evo Morales denounced the Agencia de Noticias Fides News Agency and the newspapers Página Siete and La Prensa for publishing a story that he alleged did "not reflect the true discourse" of President Morales. The government alleged that the defendants had distorted the president's words in a speech blaming hunger in eastern Bolivia on the laziness of the people in that region.403 The complaint specifically alleged the crime of dissemination and incitement to racism, which carries a punishment of imprisonment ranging from one to five years. The complaint was filed against legal representatives, publishers, and others connected to the case.

C. Application of Criminal Defamation Laws to Internet and Mobile Communications

The Constitution, Penal Code and other laws can be applied to news articles published online by the press. However, despite the Bolivian government's assertion that it is monitoring offensive statements against public officials online, as of the time of publication there have not been any cases of Internet censorship.

D. Status of Criminal Defamation Laws

Ever since 2012, freedom of the press in Bolivia has been deteriorating as the government appears to be using the 2010 "Law against Racism and All Forms of Discrimination" to intimidate and stifle the media. However, in 2012, the Plurinational Constitutional Court declared Article 162 of the Penal Code unconstitutional. Article 162 had specifically prescribed punishments for individuals who committed libel, slander or defamation against public officials. Decision 1250/2012 of September 20, 2012 held that this crime "disproportionately restricts the right to freedom of expression of citizens." According to the Constitutional Court, Article 162 of the Penal Code created an unconstitutional inequality between officials and citizens, which was incompatible with international human rights commitments. The Court also held that public officials should be subject to special and wide scrutiny, which requires open and vigorous debate on matters of public importance.404

III. Brazil

A. Criminal Laws Restricting Freedom of Expression

Brazilian law criminalizes libel, slander and defamation ("injuria").

1. Calumny

Pursuant to Article 138 of the Brazilian Penal Code, slander consists of attributing a "criminal offense" to another person. It is punishable by six months to two years in prison and a fine.405 Notably, slander is also punishable if the statement is made against the deceased.

2. Defamation

Article 139 of the Penal Code defines defamation as the attribution to another person of a fact or action that affects that person's reputation, and is punishable by three months to one year in prison and a fine.406

3. Slander

According to Article 140, slander consists of "offending the dignity of another person," and is punishable by one to six months in prison.407 Penalties increase whenever the statement is made against the president, against the head of a foreign government, a public official in the performance of his official duties, or a person who is disabled or over 60 years old, in accordance with Article 141.408

4. Defenses

As potential defenses to these crimes, judges in Brazil tend to analyze each case taking into account whether (i) the published information reflects the truth, or at least is supported by evidence that allowed the journalist to publish credible information; (ii) the dissemination of such information represents the public interest; and (iii) the journalist intentionally aimed to harm someone.

B. Enforcement of Criminal Defamation Laws

Various forms of libel and defamation remain criminalized in Brazil, although most of the numerous lawsuits that arise each year have been filed under civil (rather than criminal) statutes. For instance, bloggers frequently are forced to pay fines following defamation suits over their online reporting. These civil penalties may still serve to restrict freedom of speech in Brazil. Additionally, the media faces judicial censorship in Brazil.409 Even though the 1988 Brazilian Constitution guarantees freedom of the press and outlaws censorship, politicians, business people, and celebrities have used laws intended to guarantee the privacy of average citizens to silence the media. A 2012 report by the freedom of expression group Article 19 noted that the threat of lawsuits and court orders leads many bloggers and online journalists, who lack the resources of journalists backed by traditional media companies, to practice self- censorship.410

In June 2015, the Brazilian Supreme Court voted unanimously to strike down a 2003 law that had allowed the subjects of unauthorized biographies to seek to ban the publication of those works on the grounds that they violated their right to privacy as protected by Brazil's constitution. The case had been brought by major Brazilian publishers after a series of judgments that had favored the interests of celebrities.411

1. Operação Faktor

On July 31, 2009, a judge in Brasília granted an injunction forbidding the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo from publishing reports containing information about a federal police investigation, called "Operação Faktor," of Fernando Sarney, son of the Senate's President, José Sarney. The injunction requested by Fernando Sarney was granted one day after it was requested to the court. The judge prohibited the newspaper from publishing any further information about the Operação Faktor investigation. The judge stipulated that for each report that was subsequently published in defiance of the injunction, the newspaper would be charged a fine of R$150,000 (approximately $64,000).412 Even though Fernando Sarney withdrew his injunction request in December 2009, the injunction against the newspaper continues, according to a May 2013 report.413

2. Gutjhar v. Sharkey

On September 29, 2009, a civil defamation suit was filed against a U.S. freelance journalist, Joe Sharkey, for comments on his blog about a 2006 plane crash in Brazil in which he was a passenger.

The plaintiff in this case is Rosane Gutjhar, a citizen of Brazil, who claims that Sharkey offended Brazil's honor in comments made on his blog. Gutjhar demands approximately U$280,000 in damages. Sharkey has argued that the comments are not his and can be traced back to the "readers" comments published on the Brazilian news website.414 In November 2011, a court in the state of Paraná ruled against Sharkey, ordering him to pay a fine in the amount of R$50,000 (approximately US$23,000) and to publicly withdraw the statements.415

3. Maiorana v. Pinto

In November 2012, a judge rejected the appeal of journalist Lúcio Flávio Pinto and ordered him to pay approximately US$205,000 in libel damages to businessman Romulo Maiorana Júnior and his family's company, Delta Publicidade. The charges derived from a story published by Pinto in Jornal Pessoal in 2005, in which he alleged that Maiorana's media group had pressured companies and politicians into giving them advertising.416 A final decision is now pending before a Court of Appeals.417

4. Capez v. Amaral

On September 19, 2013, the STJ dismissed a judicial action based on the constitutional principle of freedom of expression. In this case, Fernando Capez, a São Paulo state deputy and member of the Public Attorney's Office, sued the journalist José Carlos Amaral Kfouri (best known as Juca Kfouri) in order to prevent Mr. Kfouri from publishing any future articles about Capez. According to Mr. Capez, his honor and image were consistently offended by Juca Kfouri through slanted journalism, especially in articles posted on Mr. Kfouri's blog.418

5. The Case of José Goes

On October 27, 2013, a decision against journalist José Cristian Goes was confirmed by an Appeals Court in the State of Sergipe. The journalist had been convicted and sent to prison (a sentence that was later converted into community service) for injury against a state court judge. The journalist had published a fictional story on his blog, which included an unflattering character that the state court judge believed to be a depiction of himself, despite a lack of clear elements in the story directly linking the character to the judge. The decision concluded that the journalist abused freedom of speech and violated the judge's right to privacy.419

6. Da Costa v. Editora Abril

On November 19, 2013, the Superior Tribunal of Justice (STJ), the highest court in Brazil analyzing non-constitutional matters, dismissed a judicial action in which Waldemar da Costa Neto, a former congressman, sued the publishing company Editora Abril. The suit was brought because of an article published at Revista Veja, a Brazilian magazine covering political and social developments, which narrated the alleged involvement of Mr. Costa Neto in illegal transfers of money abroad based on the testimony of a broker. Editora Abril proved that it had enough evidence to support the article, and because Mr. Costa Neto was a politician, the court concluded that it was in the public interest for the article to be published.420

7. Humberto Riella Sobrino v. Aguirre Talento

In April 2014, a Court in Bahia sentenced Aguirre Talento, a journalist for the newspaper A Tarde, to a six-month jail term on defamation charges, which were suspended in favor of community service and a fine. The conviction arose from an article Talento wrote in 2010 that alluded to authorities' investigation into a businessman accused of noncompliance with environmental rules on a construction project. The businessman, Humberto Riella Sobrino, claimed that Talento had defamed him and damaged his honor by writing that the prosecutor had asked that he be placed in preventive detention. Sobrino denies the claims and is appealing the sentence.421

8. Sen. Roberto Requião v. Ricardo Boechat

In May 2014, Ricardo Boechat, host of the news program Jornal da Band on the TV network Bandeirantes, was convicted by a São Paulo court of defaming a local senator and sentenced to six months and 16 days of jail time which was suspended in favor of community service. The case arose in 2011, when Boechet accused the senator of corruption and nepotism. The senator subsequently filed a suit against Boechat accusing him of defamation and damaging his reputation.422

C. Application of Criminal Defamation Laws to Internet and Mobile Communications

There is no provision expressly prohibiting the application of Brazil's criminal defamation laws to Internet and Mobile communications. Therefore, based on the broad language of these provisions, they are likely applicable in the online context.

D. Status of Criminal Defamation Laws

In 2003, Law No. 10.741423 made two changes to the Brazilian Penal Code concerning the legislation on defamation. First, Article 140 of the law increased the penalty for defamation in cases where the injury concerns race, color, ethnicity, religion or origin. Second, Article 141 provided that penalties could be increased by up to a third if the subject of the defamation was elderly or disabled.

In May 2009, the Supreme Federal Tribunal, the highest court in Brazil analyzing constitutional matters, took a significant step in eliminating criminal defamation in Brazil by repealing the 1967 Press Law which imposed harsh penalties on journalists for criminal defamation.

Despite this advancement, press members are still subject to ordinary criminal charges (under the provisions of the Penal Code). The Penal Code has remained unchanged despite the repeal of the 1967 Press Law.

In addition, Bill No. 236 of 2012 ("Bill 236") is currently under discussion in the Brazilian Congress. This bill, if approved, would significantly reform the Penal Code with respect to certain aspects of criminal defamation issues.424

The first and most crucial modification proposed under Bill 236 would be a change to Article 141 to stipulate that criticisms, reviews or opinions of artistic, literary, scientific and journalistic nature do not constitute defamation and injury, unless the opinion contains an unambiguous intention to defame.425 In practice, this modification would simply update the Brazilian Penal Code to reflect the current case law since, as a matter of course, the Superior Tribunal of Justice generally analyzes the intention of the defendant before reaching a decision.

In addition, in response to a conflict between the current penal law and the Organization of American States' (OAS) rules, Bill 236 would revoke Article 331 of the Penal Code on criminal defamation.

However, other provisions in Bill 236 do not represent a step in the right direction. For example, the Bill would serve to drastically increase penalties for infractions, by proposing that: (i) the current penalty for defamation of three months to one year in prison would be increased to one to two years in prison; (ii) the current penalty for slander would be increased to one to two years in prison instead of the current six months to two years in prison; and (iii) the penalty for the crime of "injury " which is currently one to six months in prison, would be increased to six months to one year in prison.426

Furthermore, Article 140 of Bill 236 would create an "aggravating factor" that would double the penalty for defamation and slander when these crimes are conducted by journalism or any communication that facilitates the propagation of the crimes, including through the use of electronic or digital media.

IV. Chile

A. Criminal Laws Restricting Freedom of Expression

1. Libel

Article 416 of the Criminal Code defines libel as statements made "in dishonor, discredit or scorn of another person."427 For the purposes of determining what constitutes libel, it is not relevant whether the expressions are true or false.

A. Serious Libel

According to Article 417 of the Criminal Code, libel is "serious" when any of the following acts occurs:

• A statement attributes to another person a crime or minor felony that does not give rise to "ex officio prosecution"—that is, the state may not begin the prosecution without a criminal complaint from the affected individual.

• A statement attributes to another person a punished or elapsed crime.>

• A statement attributes to another person a lack of morality, the consequences of which may affect the victim's reputation, credibility or interests.

• A statement is libelous to the public (that is, if it may be considered "outrageous" by public opinion), depending on the nature, occasion or circumstances of the statement.

Notably, judges may also hold that the libel is "serious" in light of the "situation, dignity and circumstances of the offended and the offender." Article 418 of the Criminal Code provides that (i) if the libel was committed publicly and in writing, the penalty is imprisonment ranging from 61 days to three years and a fine of 11 to 20 Monthly Tax Units ("MTUs"), equivalent to US$850 to US$1,500; and (ii) if (b).Minor Libel was not committed publicly and in writing, the penalty is imprisonment ranging from 61 to 540 days and a fine of six to 10 MTUs, equivalent to US$480 to US$800.

B. Minor Libel

"Minor libel" consists of harm inflicted upon an individual's honor that cannot be classified as any of the crimes established in Article 417 of the Criminal Code. If the libelous statement is made in writing and publicly, then according to Article 419 of the Criminal Code, the penalty will be imprisonment ranging from 61 to 540 days and a fine of six to 10 MTUs, equivalent to US$480 to US$800. However, if minor libel is committed neither in writing nor with publicity, it may be punishable with only one to four MTUs, which is equivalent to US$80 to US$320.

2. Slander

Article 412 of the Criminal Code defines slander as the "imputation of a specific but false crime, which can be currently prosecuted ex-officio." The requirements are:

• There must be an accusation of a particular crime;

• The crime must be false; and

• The crime must be of the kind that can be prosecuted ex officio.

Accordingly, the relevant components of slander are: (i) making a statement against the morality or honor of an individual and (ii) imputing a false crime to such person. The applicable penalty will depend on the crime that is imputed to that person,428 and whether the slander is committed in writing and/or publicly.

If slander is committed in writing and publicly, then:

• If a felony is attributed, the penalty consists of imprisonment from 541 days to three years, and a fine of approximately 11 to 20 MTUs, equivalent to US$850 to US$1,540.

• If a misdemeanor is attributed, the penalty consists of imprisonment from 61 to 540 days, and a fine of approximately six to 10 MTUs, which is equivalent to US$480 to US$800.

If slander is not committed in writing and publicly:

• If a crime is attributed, the penalty consists of imprisonment ranging from 61 to 540 days and a fine of six to 15 MTUs, which is equivalent to approximately US$480 to US$1,150.

• If a simple felony is attributed, the penalty consists of imprisonment of 61 days and a fine of approximately six to 10 MTUs, which is equivalent to approximately US$480 to US$800.

The specific penalty, within the above mentioned ranges, will be decided by a judge based on the particular circumstances of the crime. To prosecute an individual for the crime of slander, the crime attributed by the offender must be within the applicable statute of limitations and the victim cannot already be serving a sentence for that particular crime.

3. Rules common to both slander and libel

The following rules are common to both slander and libel:

• Slander and libel may be committed both expressly and implicitly, through either material or immaterial means such as allegories, caricatures, symbols and allusions, in accordance with Article 421 of the Criminal Code.

• Slander and libel may not be "frustrated" or "attempted" (that is, they must produce the injury to the plaintiff) and can only be committed by means of an action (and therefore may not, for example, be committed by accident).

• Slander and libel require an intention to damage the honor of the victim, so-called animus injuriandi.

• According to Article 428 of the Criminal Code, the injured party may pardon the offender, in which case no penalty will be applied by the court.

4. Special rules on libel and slander for journalists

Law No. 19.733, concerning the "Liberties of Opinion and Information, and Exercise of Journalism" (the "Law of Press"), establishes definitions and parameters for the profession of journalism. For instance, it guarantees the right to express an opinion without prior censorship429 and defines what is understood by the term "social communication media,"430 among others.

Notably, Article 29 of the Law of Press provides that "personal appreciations" and criticism regarding "politics, literacy, history, art, sciences and sports" shall not be considered libel, unless it is clear that the purpose of the statement was to defame.431

5. Defenses

The most common and effective defenses argued by defendants in libel and slander accusations are the following: (i) that the person acted under his constitutional right of freedom of opinion, according to Article 19, No. 12 of the Constitution; (ii) the absence of animus injuriandi in the expressions; and (iii) that the expressions constitute an opinion or a critique, made in the course of journalist work, so that the expressions do not fall within the scope of criminally defamatory crimes.

Furthermore, in case of libel the defendant can plead - as a defense and to avoid liability - that the statements made were true, provided that the statements were made against a public officer and that the statements concern the public official's position (an "exception of truth" or Exceptio Veritas defense).432

According to Article 30 of the Law of Press, if libel is committed through social media the "exception of truth" defense can be applied if the libelous statement is made against a public official concerning the performance of his or her duties or if the motive of such expression is to protect an actual public interest. Article 30 provides a list of acts that are considered to be in the "public interest."433

B. Enforcement of Criminal Defamation Laws

Criminal defamation laws are generally enforced by the courts, but their final application depends on the particular facts of each case. In this regard, below are the most notable recent cases.434

1. Dimter v. Bonnefoy

In 2010, Edwin Dimter sued Pascal Bonnefoy, a journalist of the newspaper La Nación, under Article 29 of the Law of Press for publishing an article showing that Edwin Dimter was responsible for the murder of singer Victor Jara.435 As reported by CPJ: "On January 18, [2010], a Santiago tribunal dismissed the criminal charges against the journalist based on four witnesses' testimonies."436

The Court further held that the journalist's conduct at issue consisted of only interviewing, collecting and compiling information, and that the journalist did not actually say that Edwin Dimter committed the crime.437 The Court explained that, for the purposes of libel, there must be an intention of dishonoring, discrediting or producing some harm to another person, the so-called animus injuriandi. The trial court's decision to dismiss the case was upheld by the Supreme Court in May 2010.438

2. Ramón Bravo v. Sergio Pizarro and Luis Villagrán

Journalist Sergio Pizarro wrote in 2010 a story criticizing the Coquimbo municipal councilmen for the impact that a monument allegedly had on the welfare of the municipality's citizens. A member of the municipality, Ramón Bravo, sued both the journalist and the director of the newspaper that published the story, Luis Villagrán, accusing them of having committed libel and slander.439 The case reached the Court of Appeals of La Serena, which held that to commit libel and slander, the offender must have the animus injuriandi - the consciousness or knowledge of what is going to be told with the purpose of dishonoring the offended person. Because the article only intended to criticize, and not to harm, the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the journalist and the director of the newspaper.440

C. Application of Criminal Defamation Laws to Internet and Mobile Communications

The above-mentioned laws are likely to apply to Internet and mobile communications. With respect to both libel and slander, the definition of the offense consists merely of expressing something about someone else against his or her honor. The Chilean Criminal Code does not establish a specific means of committing these crimes; therefore, they can be committed via Internet or mobile communications.

D. Status of Criminal Defamation Laws

In the last 10 years, no changes have been made to defamation laws in Chile. However, according to the Gazette of the Senate of the Republic of Chile Nº 6861-07, on March 23, 2010, Senator Carlos Bianchi submitted a motion to modify the Criminal Code in order to establish that libel and slander must be committed publicly and in writing if they are published by means of images, videos, Internet chats, virtual communities, social media and, in general, any other suitable means.

V. Colombia

A. Criminal Laws Restricting Freedom of Expression

Articles 220-222 of Act 599 of the Colombian Criminal Code criminalize defamation under three categories: (i) insult or dishonorable accusation; (ii) calumny or the false imputation of a specific criminal conduct; and (iii) indirect insult or calumny.

1. Insult

Insult consists of making "dishonorable accusations against another person" and it is punishable by 16 to 54 months of imprisonment and fines that can range from 13.33 to 1,500 monthly minimum wages (equivalent to approximately US$4,000 to US$465,000).441

According to the Colombian Supreme Court of Justice and the Constitutional Court, the following five requirements must be met in order for a person to be convicted of insult:442

a. Animus Injuriandi. The person making the dishonorable accusation must be aware, subjectively speaking, that he or she is dishonoring another person.

b. The accusation is made against a determined or determinable person. The offender determined the person against whom the accusation is made.

c. The person making the accusation has knowledge of its dishonorable character. The offender knows that the statement or accusation can be reasonably considered to be dishonorable by the target.

d. The accusation in fact harms or injures the honor of the target. The accusation made by the offender harms the honor of the person at whom the accusation is aimed.

e. The awareness of the capacity to harm. The offender must be aware that the accusation has the capacity or potential to harm or injure the honor of the target.

2. Calumny

Calumny consists of "falsely imput[ing] a specific criminal behavior" to another person, and is punishable by 16 to 72 months of imprisonment and a fine that can range from 13.33 to 1,500 monthly minimum wages (equivalent to approximately US$4,000 to US$465,000).443 A calumny conviction must meet the following requirements established by the Supreme Court of Justice and the case law of the Constitutional Court:444

a. The recipient has to be a determined or determinable person. The stated attribution of the commission of a specific criminal conduct has to be to a determined or determinable person.

b. Falsehood of the statement. The offender has to falsely state that a determined or determinable person committed a specific criminal behavior.

c. Awareness of the falsehood of the statement. The offender must know the statement is false.

d. Volitive and cognitive requirements. The offender has to willingly and consciously make a false statement.

3. Indirect Insult or Calumny

Indirect calumny and/or insult is defined as "any dishonorable accusation or false imputation of a criminal conduct perpetrated by impersonal means, such as publications, reproductions, repetition of insults and/or calumny made by others." The penalties for indirect insult or calumny are the same as for direct insult and direct calumny, respectively.445

4. Defenses

The truthfulness of the statement at issue may be used as a defense against a charge of insult, calumny, indirect insult, or indirect calumny.446 Additionally, if the insult or calumny is reciprocal (that is, each party was responsible for stating an insult or calumny against the other), then the offenders are deemed to be exempt from criminal responsibility.447

The Criminal Code also establishes that there is no criminal sanction if the author of the criminal conduct retracts or withdraws the defamatory statement before a decision is reached in a court of first instance.448

Both insult and calumny are crimes that can only be investigated if the affected person requests the prosecutor's office to initiate an investigation on the matter. In other words, the state cannot begin an ex officio investigation for such crimes, without a criminal complaint from the affected individual.

B. Enforcement of Criminal Defamation Laws

In 2013, the Colombian Foundation for the Freedom of Press (FLIP, Fundación para la Libertad de Prensa) published a handbook for journalists containing guidelines on how to defend themselves against judicial actions for defamation.449 According to the handbook, a survey carried out in 2011 among 603 journalists showed that, in the consulted journalists' opinion, defamation suits were the second factor (after self-censorship) that most affected the environment of free exercise of journalism in Colombia. The following is a selection of some of the most recent and notable cases.

1. The Case of Luis González

Mr. González was convicted in 2011 by a court of first instance for defamation committed against the former mayor of Fusagasuga on the basis of an article he published in the local journal Cundinamarca Democrática where he harshly criticized the major's management and questioned her next candidacy for the Colombian Senate. He was convicted of slander and libel, sentenced to 20 months in prison and handed down a fine of 20 minimum wages, equivalent to approximately US$5,200.450

The Court of Appeals partially reversed the trial court's decision on the libel claim, but confirmed the slander conviction, lowering the penalty to 18 months and 18 days in prison and a fine of 17.77 minimum wages, equivalent approximately to US$5,700.451 The Court of Appeals held that Mr. González did not commit libel because the expressions he used were "opinions" made in connection with matters of general public interest in the exercise of journalism, and his expressions were made only to warn citizens about the facts that happened during the officer's public life. However, the Appeals Court considered that other expressions used by Mr. González exceeded mere criticism and opinion, and thus constituted offenses to the honor and good name of Fusagasuga.

The Supreme Court ultimately revoked the ruling of the Appeals Court with respect to the crime of slander and absolved Mr. Gonzalez of the charges against him. The Supreme Court ruled that the statements made by Mr. Gonzalez regarding the character and personality of the victim, in spite of being disrespectful and potentially unethical insults,452 were not capable of damaging the honor of the victim, as they reflected the perception of the journalist and were not meant to prove the other such affirmations. Therefore, these expressions could not be considered crimes.453

2. The Case of Claudia López

Columnist Claudia López was absolved of a defamation conviction that was issued on the basis of an article she published in 2006 in the journal El Tiempo. In that article, and in the context of the recent appointment of the former President Ernesto Samper, López referred to Samper as someone capable of dealing with the mafia in order to gain access to the presidency, corrupting institutions, and maybe even interceding to eliminate people having knowledge of his affairs, among others.454 Notably, the court held that the article was an opinion of the journalist in connection with a highly topical subject in those days, allowed within the framework of the freedom of expression in connection with matters of general public interest.455 The court also held that the journalist did not show "animus injuriandi."456

C. Application of Criminal Defamation Laws to Internet and Mobile Communications

Slander and libel crimes may be committed by any means and through any medium, including when using the Internet and/or any mobile communications. The fact that these crimes are committed through the use of Internet and/or mobile communications does not modify the scope of the application of the law, and there is no specific application of the law to the commission of these crimes through the use of Internet and/or mobile communications. However, the Colombian Criminal Code contains aggravating penalties (which increase the penalties from 1/6 up to 1/2 times) when libel or slander are committed by using any social media communication, or in public meetings.457

D. Status of Criminal Defamation Laws

The public prosecutor office together with the Justice Department and the Constitutional Court has been working on a reform to the Colombian Code of Criminal Procedure since 2012 to streamline the accusatory penal system. Even though the amendment's focus is not on decriminalizing the offenses of insult and calumny, one of the goals of the reform is to make it harder for people to bring such offenses and try to resolve the issues in an amicable way.458

VI. Ecuador

A. Criminal Laws Restricting Freedom of Expression

Article 489 of the Criminal Code defines defamation as: (i) slanderous when someone makes a false accusation of an offense; and (ii) non-slanderous when someone makes a statement to discredit, dishonor or disparage another person, or any action performed with the same purpose.459 According the Article 490 of the Criminal Code,460 non-slanderous defamation is classified as follows:

1. Major Non-Slanderous Defamation:

• Allegations of a vice or lack of morality with consequences that can significantly impair the reputation, credit, or interests of the victim;

• Allegations that, by their nature or circumstance, may be considered outrageous by the public;

• Allegations that rationally deserve a classification of serious or major, considering the state, dignity and circumstances of the offense and the offender; and

• Allegations of slapping, kicking, or other physical attacks.

2. Minor Non-Slanderous Defamation:

• Minor non-slanderous defamation consists of attributing to another person facts, nicknames, or physical and moral defects that do not compromise the honor of the injured.

B. Enforcement of Criminal Defamation Laws

Criminal defamation laws are actively enforced in Ecuador. As of 2011, approximately 18 cases in which journalists and media have faced lawsuits have been reported. The following are the most notorious and recent cases.

1. Correa v. El Universo

President Correa filed a claim against the newspaper El Universo for publishing an article entitled "Say No To Lies" by Emilio Palacio. The article stated that President Correa committed certain crimes during the September 30, 2010 political events and confrontations with the national police. The columnist and the editorial page editor called President Correa a "dictator" and accused him of giving troops permission to fire on a hospital full of people during a police uprising.461 The trial court convicted the owners of the newspaper, sentenced them to three years in prison, and ordered them to pay US$40 million in damages. The case drew national and international media attention. In February 2012, it was reported that President Correa "forgave" the penalties imposed against the newspaper and the case was closed.462

2. Walter Vite Benítez

On April 30, 2011, Walter Vite Benítez, a journalist for a provincial Ecuadorian radio, was sentenced to one-year imprisonment and fined US$500 on criminal defamation charges stemming from a critical comment about the local mayor made three years prior. According to Mr. Benítez, he criticized the performance of Esmeraldas' mayor Ernesto Estupiñán, but he never mentioned the official by name and instead only referred to "a mayor" In his comment. Benítez, the journalist, believes that he is being persecuted for his critical reporting on city government.463

3. Delgado v. Jaime Mantilla Anderson

The director of a Quito-based newspaper, Jaime Mantilla Anderson, was sentenced to three months in prison on December 21, 2011 for a series of articles on Pedro Delgado, president of the board of directors of Ecuador's central bank and President Correa's second cousin. The articles, published in September and October 2009, claimed that Mr. Delgado wielded behind-the-scenes influence in the government. In his complaint, Delgado claimed that Mantilla had refused to reveal the articles' author or sources.464 We understand that Mr. Delgado later withdrew his complaint and therefore Mr. Anderson was not required to serve his prison sentence.

4. Correa v. Calderón and Zurita

On February 6, 2012, a regional civil court ordered journalists Juan Carlos Calderón and Christian Zurita to pay US$1 million in damages each to President Correa, as well as US$100,000 for the plaintiff's legal fees, on charges of defaming the president in their book Big Brother. In this book, they alleged that the president's older brother, Fabricio Correa, had obtained US$600 million in state contracts, largely for road construction. After details of the corruption emerged, Correa canceled the contracts, saying he had been unaware of the arrangements. He then filed a US$10 million defamation lawsuit against the journalists and devoted three cadenas (presidential broadcast addresses that pre-empt programming on all stations nationwide) to discrediting the book and its authors.465 Weeks after the ruling, Correa announced that he would pardon the journalists along with the defendants in the El Universo case.466

5. María Helena Villarreal v. Yaco Martínez

On March 8, 2013, Yaco Martínez, director of the daily La Nación in the province of Carchi was convicted of defaming a former governor with an article published in his newspaper and sentences to prison. The charges arose from a report in La Nación in which Martínez claimed that then-Gov. Villarreal would have her former chief of staff run the state's affairs during her vacation even though he no longer held formal office. Martínez was sentenced to one month in prison and ordered to pay US$30,000 in damages plus Villarreal's legal fees. The journalist said he would appeal and argued that the judge should be removed from the case because, according to Martinez, his wife is a cousin of the plaintiff.467

C. Application of Criminal Defamation Laws to Internet and Mobile Communications

Slander and libel crimes may be committed by any means through any medium, including the Internet and/or any mobile communications.

D. Status of Criminal Defamation Laws

There have been no recent developments in Ecuador's criminal defamation laws.

VII. Guyana

A. Criminal Laws Restricting Freedom of Expression

In Guyana, provisions on damages for slander and libel were consolidated into the 1959 Defamation Act.495

Defamatory libel is a criminal offense under the Criminal Law (Offences Act) of Guyana (Chapter 8:01 of the Laws of Guyana).496 A defamatory libel is a matter published—without any legal justification or excuse—in order to insult the person to whom it is addressed, or aimed to injure the reputation of any person by exposing that person to "hatred, contempt or ridicule."497

The defamatory statement may be expressed either in words or by any other means, and directly or implicitly.498 Publishing a defamatory libel is exhibiting it in public, or causing it to be read or seen, or causing it to be shown or delivered to, and with a view to its being read or seen by another person.499

Punishment for publishing a defamatory libel includes fines and imprisonment terms from one to three years depending on the particular circumstance:

• Publishing of defamatory libel: up to one year in prison and a fine.500

• Publishing of defamatory libel known to be false: up to two years in prison and a fine.501

• Publishing of defamatory libel seeking to extort money: up to three years in prison.502

Additionally, the Guyanese Criminal Law Offences Act also contains other relevant provisions related to conducts that are considered to be libel:

• Publishing seditious libel: up to two years prison and a fine.503

• Publishing blasphemous libel: up to one year in prison.504

• Publishing obscene libel: up to two years in prison.505

Guyana's criminal law provides that there is no chargeable offense when the statement is made in one of the following circumstances:506

• On invitation or challenge of the person defamed;

• In a proceeding in a court of justice, or in response to official inquiries;

• In papers to the National Assembly;

• In a fair report of, and comment on, parliamentary proceedings;

• On matters of public interest believed to be true;

• In a fair comment on conduct of public affairs or on literary publication or public performances;

• On a matter in good faith, to obtain redress for a wrong;

• In answer to an inquiry by an interested person;

• In information to a person interested in the subject matter of that information. The Criminal Law Offences Act provides that "owners of a newspaper, journal, magazine or other writing or print, periodically published is prima facie criminally responsible for defamatory matter inserted and published therein," although this is a so-called rebuttable presumption, meaning it can be disproved.507

However, the owner of a newspaper or publication may not be considered negligent by generally authorizing the making of the defamatory statement unless the owner—when giving that general authority—understood that it was authorizing the defamatory statement, or continued delegating that authority after learning that a defamatory statement had been made.508

Regarding the sale of periodicals containing defamatory matters, Guyana's criminal law establishes that: (i) no person shall be considered to have committed a chargeable offense by selling an edition or part of a periodical, unless that person knew it contained (or usually contained) defamatory matter;509 (ii) no person shall be considered to have committed a chargeable offense by selling any book, pamphlet, print, or writing or other thing not forming part of a periodical, despite containing a defamatory statement, if—at the time of the sale— the person did not know that the defamatory matter was contained therein;510 and (iii) the sale by a servant of any book, pamphlet, print, writing, or other thing whether periodical or not, shall not make the owner of the publication or employer criminally responsible in respect of a defamatory statement contained therein, unless it is proved that the owner or employer authorized that sale with knowledge that the book, pamphlet, print, writing, or other thing contained a defamatory statement.511

The fact that the publication of the defamatory statement was for the "public benefit" at the time when it was published constitutes a defense against criminal liability. The truth of the statement may also be used as a defense.512

With respect to libel, criminal law establishes that no person shall be convicted of blasphemous libel when expressing (or attempting to express) in good faith and in decent language any opinion whatsoever on any religious subject.513

B. Enforcement of Criminal Defamation Laws

According to the International Press Institute, there have been no recent prosecutions of journalists under Guyana's criminal defamation laws.514 However, there have been a number of civil suits filed by government officials against journalists.515

C. Application of Criminal Defamation Laws to Internet and Mobile Communications

The definition of defamatory libel in Guyana's criminal law includes the expression either "in words legibly marked upon any substance, or by any object signifying the matter otherwise than by words, and may be expressed either directly or by insinuation or irony."516 This definition is broad enough to include in its scope the commission of defamatory libel through the Internet or mobile communications. However, there is no relevant case law regarding the special treatment given to defamatory libel when committed through these means.

D. Status of Criminal Defamation Laws

Guyana is in the process of revising several defamation laws. In particular, on May 4, 2013, the Guyana Times reported that "[t]he Legal Affairs Minister, Anil Nandlall, said government is in the process of reviewing several archaic laws that need to be revised, one of which is the controversial criminal defamation legislation which the International Press Institute (IPI) has been lobbying Caribbean countries to scrap."517

VIII. Paraguay

A. Criminal Laws Restricting Freedom of Expression

Paraguay has criminal defamation laws and journalists have been threatened by prosecutions under criminal charges for slander, calumny, libel and defamation.518 These offenses are governed by Articles 150 to 156 of the Paraguayan Criminal Code.519

1. Calumny

According to Article 150 of the Criminal Code, calumny consists of attributing to another person, falsely and knowing that it is not true, a fact that is capable of damaging that person's "honor or reputation." Calumny is punishable by a fine. If the offense is committed before a crowd of people, or through dissemination in a publication or repeatedly over a prolonged period of time, the punishment may be increased to two years of imprisonment, or a fine.520

2. Defamation

Under Article 151 of the Criminal Code, defamation consists of attributing to another person a fact capable of damaging that person's honor.521 Defamation is punishable by a fine equivalent to 180 "penalty days," which constitutes an amount that varies depending on the daily average wealth of the person convicted.522 However, if the statement is made before a crowd of people, through dissemination in a publication, or if it is repeatedly made over a prolonged period of time, the punishment may be increased to up to one year of imprisonment or a fine.523

A defamatory statement will not be punished if (i) it is addressed confidentially to one related person or when, in its form and substance, it does not exceed the limits of an acceptable criticism; and (ii) if, bearing in mind the author's interests and duty to investigate according to the circumstances, it is a proportional means for the defense of public or private interests.524

3. Slander

Under Article 152 of the Criminal Code, slander consists of attributing to someone else a fact capable of damaging or otherwise having a negative effect upon that person's honor. Although the crime of slander is quite similar to that of defamation, it is somewhat broader, as it even includes "negative opinions" of another person that are capable of damaging that person's honor.525

Slander is punishable by a fine.526 As with defamation, if this act is done in front of a third party or if it is repeatedly done over a prolonged time, the fine may be increased to 180 "penalty- days."

4. Defenses

In Paraguay, slander shall not be punished if (i) it is addressed confidentially to one related person or when, in its form and substance, it does not exceed the limits of an acceptable criticism; and (ii) if, bearing in mind the author's interests and duty to investigate according to the circumstances, it is a proportional means for the defense of public or private interests.527

B. Enforcement of Criminal Defamation Laws

Criminal defamation laws in Paraguay have been recently enforced to threaten journalists who criticize politicians, judges and public figures. Since 2012, there have been at least five cases of criminal prosecutions against journalists brought in Paraguay.528

1. Salinas v. Hadid, Cuevas, Park and Caballero

In 2011, lawyer Evelio Salinas initiated a criminal prosecution against Mr. Ismael Hadid, Mr. Silvio Cuevas, Ms. Yolanda Park and Mr. Andrés Caballero for defamation, calumny and slander. The prosecution was initiated as a result of a TV show aired on May 8, 2010 in which Mr. Cuevas interviewed Mrs. María Tomasa Lugo Benítez, who had filed a claim accusing Mr. Salinas of falsifying birth certificates to facilitate adoption procedures. In the interview, Mrs. Lugo reiterated her claim that Salinas falsified his adoptive sons' birth certificates.529

In August 2011, the first instance judge acquitted the journalists, but held Mrs. María Tomasa Lugo Benítez guilty of defamation and punished her with a fine equivalent to 180 penalty-days or US$2,248.33. In his decision, the judge acknowledged that the journalists had the right to inform the public about a judicial claim, if substantiated by official documents and provided that the defendant is presumed innocent.530

2. Adaro Monzón v. Ferreira

Journalist César Ferreira, of a local radio station called "Yuty," was accused of defaming Benjamín Adaro Monzón, a member of the incumbent Colorado political party. Ferreira was accused of reading—live on the radio—an article published in ABC Color newspaper on February 17, 2010, which stated that Adaro Monzón transported meat coming from illegal cattle rustling activities.531 Ferreira was initially acquitted in 2010 allegedly because there was no evidence against him. However, in August 2011, the first instance decision was reversed, and a new prosecution was initiated by Adaro Monzon against César Ferreira. The matter is still pending before the criminal courts.532

Other relevant cases include:

• In September 2012, Nilza Ferreira, a reporter with the daily La Nación, was threatened with a lawsuit by President Federico Franco's brother, Senator Julio César Franco, when she questioned him about his maid's presence on a superior court payroll.533

• In October 2012, President Franco threatened legal action against newspaper ABC Color following a series of articles that linked his wife, lower house member Emilia Alfaro, to irregularities in the awarding of transportation contracts.534

In October 2011, an appeals court upheld a sentence against ABC Color publisher Aldo Zuccolillo, ordering him to pay roughly US$43,000 for damages resulting from a 2006 article that allegedly damaged the honor and reputation of a judge, Carmelo Castiglioni.535

C. Application of Criminal Defamation Laws to Internet and Mobile Communications

In Paraguay, criminal defamation laws apply to the Internet and/or mobile communications. Articles 150, 151 and 152 of the Criminal Code define calumny, defamation and slander generally, without limiting them to written, radio or TV means of communication. Therefore, in theory, criminal defamation laws in Paraguay are also applicable if the criminal acts are committed through the Internet or mobile communications.536

D. Status of Criminal Defamation Laws

Other than the decision by the Plurinational Constitutional Court to declare the crime of "contempt" (styled "desacato" in Paraguay) unconstitutional,537 there have been no other recent developments in criminal defamation laws.

IX. Peru

A. Criminal Laws Restricting Freedom of Expression

In Peru, criminal defamation laws are in effect and are generally enforced. Journalists are regularly threatened by prosecutions under criminal charges for insult, calumny, libel and defamation.538 Notably, the crime of "contempt" (also known as "desacato") was repealed in 2003 by Law Nº 27975.539

1. Insult

Under Article 130 of Peru's Criminal Code, insult consists of offending or insulting another person with words, gestures or acts and is punishable by community service ranging from 10 to 40 days, or with a monetary fine.540

2. Calumny

In accordance with Article 131 of Peru's Criminal Code, calumny consists of falsely attributing a crime to someone else, and is punishable by a monetary fine.541

3. Defamation

Defamation is defined as the action of publicly attributing and disseminating a fact, quality or conduct to another person that may damage his or her honor or reputation.542

Defamation is punishable by a maximum of two years imprisonment and a fine of 30 to 120 penalty-days.543 If defamation is "calumnious," meaning that it falsely attributes a felony to someone else, the penalty is between one to two years of imprisonment and 90 to 120 penalty-days. If defamation is committed using a publicly available source or media (i.e., through a book, the press or other social media), the penalty ranges between one to three years of imprisonment and 120 to 365 penalty-days.

4. Defenses

Most journalists defend defamation claims by alleging that they have exercised their constitutional right to freedom of expression.544 In a binding decision on October 13, 2006, the Supreme Court analyzed the need for judges hearing criminal defamation cases to balance a person's honor (Article 2, section 7 of the Constitution), protected under the criminal defamation laws, and the constitutional right to freedom of expression (Article 2, Section 4 of the Constitution).545 The Court held that journalists who (i) comply with a minimum standard of care; (ii) refer to public figures or government officers (i.e., have a public interest component); and (iii) have credibility should be protected by the right of freedom of expression and not be prosecuted under the defamation laws.

Journalists can also make use of the so-called Exeptio Veritatis defense, enshrined in Article 134 of the Penal Code, under which liability for defamation may be avoided if the defendant demonstrates that its investigation and allegations are true. The truth defense is only applicable in cases where the facts considered as defamatory are related to public interest matters. Article 134 establishes the cases in which the public interest component is fulfilled, including: (i) if the offended person is a public officer and the facts refer to the exercise of his or her functions; (ii) if there is an ongoing criminal proceeding against the offended person and the facts refer to the criminal actions being investigated; (iii) when it is evident that the author of the defamation action has acted in the public interest or in self-defense; or (iv) when the plaintiff requests that the facts are fully investigated to determine if the defamatory allegations are true or false.

Finally, the statute of limitations has been used effectively as a defense against criminal prosecutions.546 The general rule is that the statute of limitations is 1.5 times the time of the maximum imprisonment time of the crime. Because these crimes have a maximum imprisonment time of three years, the statute of limitations is a maximum of 4.5 years.

B. Enforcement of Criminal Defamation Laws

Individuals, specifically journalists, are generally threatened by criminal prosecutions for insult, calumny and defamation, and are often subject to sentences that result in suspended or effective prison convictions and fines.547

1. Victor Feria Puelles v. Alejandro Carrascal Carrasco

On January 12, 2010, journalist Alejandro Carrascal Carrasco was sentenced to one year in prison on criminal defamation charges filed by the former director of a public college over a series of articles that Carrasco wrote in 2005 alleging corruption in that local public college. Mr. Puelles, the former director, alleged that his reputation was damaged. The Peruvian Supreme Court overturned the ruling in 2010.548

2. Paul Segundo Garay Ramírez v. Agustín López Cruz

Prosecutor Agustín López Cruz filed a defamation claim against a journalist, Mr. Garay. The prosecutor alleged that the journalist had insinuated that the prosecutor was engaging in corruption, that the prosecutor had sexually harassed young litigants, and that the journalist had called the prosecutor an "erotic dwarf." Mr. Garay denied the voice on the tape was his own, claiming that he did not work at the station at the purported time of the broadcast. Furthermore, the journalist stated that he believed the charges were in reprisal for his reporting on corruption. On April 19, 2011, Mr. Garay was sentenced to three years imprisonment and a fine of US$7,150. On July 27, 2011, a Court of Appeals upheld the sentence but reduced the prison term to 18 months. In September 2011, chief prosecutor Pablo Sánchez Velarde presented a report to the Supreme Court that found deficiencies in the evidence presented in the case, including a lack of clear proof that the voice on the recording belonged to Mr. Garay. On October 29, 2011, Mr. Garay was released after the Supreme Court overturned the defamation conviction against him.549

3. Vásquez Romero v. Hans Francisco Andrade Chávez

On July 6, 2011, Hans Francisco Andrade Chávez, a reporter for the local affiliate of national television network América, was sentenced to two years in prison and fined US$1,430 on criminal defamation charges arising out of a report concerning a local government official. Mr. Chávez had interviewed a member of a local political party who claimed that Chepén deputy public services director Juan José Vásquez Romero had threatened her life. Mr. Romero then filed a complaint against Mr. Chávez accusing him of defamation. A Peruvian court found that the assertions made in the report were untrue, although the written decision cited no supporting evidence. Mr. Chávez believes he was singled out due to his previous critical reporting on local government.550 We understand, however, that Mr. Chávez has not yet seen jail time.

4. Former Minister of the Interior Vidal v. Tafur and Chávez

In 2012, a court in Lima sentenced Juan Carlos Tafur, editor of the daily Diario 16, and Roberto More Chávez, a reporter for the paper, each to a two-year suspended prison sentence and a fine of US$22,200 in damages. The case arose from a 2012 article by Mr. More in Diario 16 that linked a prominent retired general to a family with alleged connections to drug trafficking. Mr. More reported in that article that the paper had accessed a police document that linked Gen. Vidal Herrera, the country's former Minister of the Interior, to the Sánchez Paredes family, several members of which have been indicted for money laundering. Mr. Vidal then filed a complaint alleging that the report was wrong and had damaged his honor and reputation.551

5. Mayor Mesía Camus v. Meléndez Fachín

In November 2012, radio journalist Teobaldo Meléndez Fachín was found guilty of criminal defamation and sentenced to a three-year suspended sentence and a US$11,047 fine for reporting that a local mayor had misused a 5.5 million soles government loan. In the report, Mr. Meléndez said that Juan Daniel Mesía Camus, the mayor of Yurimaguas, had used the loan for public works projects that benefited his own political allies. The mayor said the reports were wrong and filed a complaint in July 2012 alleging that the journalist had damaged his reputation. On March 19, 2012, a Peruvian appeals court overturned the decision against Mr. Fachín finding "substantial errors" in the earlier criminal defamation conviction and gaps in the plaintiff's evidence.552

6. Álvarez Aguilar v. Peñaranda

Alcides Peñaranda, editor of the Peruvian daily and magazine Integración, was sentenced on May 21, 2013 in the city of Huaraz to a two-year suspended prison sentence and fined US$3,662 in damages on charges of criminally defaming Cesar Álvarez Aguilar, governor of the northern Ancash region. The charges arose from a report published in Integracíon in February that year that discussed alleged corruption in Mr. Álvarez's government and quoted a report in the Lima-based magazine Hildebrandt en sus Trece that claimed that the governor was being protected from prosecution by a contact at the local attorney general's office. The criminal defamation case against Mr. Peñaranda was upheld.553

7. Gov. César Álvarez Aguilar v. Espinoza

Peruvian journalist Humberto Espinoza Maguiña was convicted twice in September 2013 on charges of defaming the governor of the northeastern Peruvian state of Ancash. He received a two-year suspended prison sentence and was fined US$2,000 in damages. First, Mr. Espinoza was found guilty of defaming Governor César Álvarez Aguilar through the publishing of an article that accused the Governor of participating in local corruption. The journalist was then convicted of defaming the Governor in an October 2012 article in Prensa Regional, which accused Mr. Álvarez and the Ancash government of closing a local radio station for political motives.554

C. Application of Criminal Defamation Laws to Internet and Mobile Communications

Criminal defamation laws in Peru expressly apply to Internet and/or mobile communications. Specifically, Article 132 of the Penal Code establishes that defamation committed by means of a book, the press or "other social media" is an aggravating factor of the criminal act of defamation.

D. Status of Criminal Defamation Laws

In 2011, the permanent commission of Congress approved a bill to amend Article 132 of the Penal Code to remove the imprisonment penalty of the insult and defamation laws and replace it with fines and community service.555 Efforts to decriminalize defamation and insult laws have not seen any further material developments since then.

X. Suriname

A. Criminal Laws Restricting Freedom of Expression

Suriname's Criminal Code contains several provisions that can be classified as either criminal defamation or contempt offenses.556 According to the International Press Institute, Suriname's penalties for these offenses are the harshest of any such laws in the Caribbean.557

1. Defamation

With respect to criminal defamation, Section 320 defines defamation (smaad) as intentionally harming another's honor and reputation by publicizing a particular fact.558 Defamation is punishable by a fine and up to six months of imprisonment, with a maximum prison term of one year if the defamation was made in writing or through images.559

The Criminal Code also creates separate crimes with harsher punishments for particular types of defamation. If the published statement falsely attributes a crime to another person (also referred to as "slanderous insinuation")560 or when the individual whose honor is harmed is a government official ("false accusations")561 the offense is punishable by up to three years of imprisonment. A libelous statement claimed as a truth where no proof is presented to support the statement by the speaker is also punishable by up to three years of imprisonment.562

Defamation of deceased persons,563 and even intentional insults not rising to the level of libel or defamation (belediging die niet het karakter van smaad of smaadschrift draagt) are both punishable by fines or up to three months in prison.564

The Criminal Code provides that neither slander nor libel will be found where the perpetrator acted in the public interest or out of necessity.565 Establishing this defense is the only circumstance in which the truth of the fact asserted will be investigated.566

2. Contempt

The most serious offense in this area is the public expression of enmity, hatred, or contempt (vijandschap, haat of minachting) toward the Surinamese government, which carries a prison term of up to seven years.567 Intentionally insulting (belediging) either the head of state, a public authority, or even a foreign country's head of state or representative in Suriname, are punishable by fines or imprisonment of up to five, two, and four years, respectively.568 Much like the criminal defamation provisions, the Criminal Code also attaches criminal penalties to more minor acts of contempt. Simply distributing or displaying a writing or image insulting the head of state, even if written or originally published by another, is punishable with a fine or a year in prison, provided that the perpetrator knows or has serious reason to suspect the document's seditious contents.569 Insulting the Surinamese flag exposes an offender to a six- month prison term.570

B. Enforcement of Criminal Defamation Laws

The International Press Institute reported in February 2013 that, of the sixteen countries considered geographically or culturally part of the Caribbean, Suriname is one of only six countries to have had journalists criminally prosecuted for defamation within the last 15 years.571 Suriname's prosecutions during this period were aimed at the same newspaper publisher, but these prosecutions do not appear to have resulted in convictions.

1. De West v. Findlay

In 2005, prosecutors initiated a criminal defamation case against George Findlay, publisher of De West. De West, along with De Ware Tijd, is one of the two privately-owned Dutch-language daily newspapers in Suriname.

The matter began when De West was accused of publishing an article defaming members of the Suriname Currency Board, the body responsible for maintaining the country's foreign exchange rates. Following the publication of the article, a Surinamese court ordered a correction to be published in De West and in De Ware Tijd.572 The requirement that a correction be published in a newspaper other than the original source was considered by the Association of Caribbean Media Workers to have "contravened conventional judicial parameters with respect to court-ordered retractions of erroneous publications" and to have "exceed[ed] typical international remedies in matters of this kind."573

Although Findlay published a correction at De West, De Ware Tijd refused to publish the correction out of solidarity with De West. In response, prosecutors opened a criminal defamation case against Findlay, threatening him with imprisonment and a fine of SR$ 1,800 (equivalent to US$600) for each day that the correction was not published in De Ware Tijd.574 For unknown reasons, the case was dropped by prosecutors in 2006.575

Subsequently, in 2007, De West published an article accusing Samuel Mehairdjan, a director at the Suriname Energy Corporation (NV Energie Bedrijven Suriname) of various acts of misconduct, including that Mehairdjan was personally responsible for causing power outages.576 At Mehairdjan's behest, prosecutors brought a second criminal defamation case against Findlay under Article 321 of the Criminal Code (libel claimed as truth where no proof is presented). For unknown reasons, since April 2013, the case has officially been listed as "postponed."577

C. Application of Criminal Defamation Laws to Internet and Mobile Communications

The criminal defamation and seditious libel laws of Suriname appear readily applicable to Internet or mobile communications. Specifically, the crimes of defamation and public expression of enmity, hatred, or contempt emphasize the publication of the offending material.578 Similarly, the crimes of intentional insult generally refer to the substance of the offending statement and its public display or spread.579 The specific crime relating to insult in writing or images also does not require that the writing or image be in physical form, and prohibits the distribution or public display of these materials generally.580

D.Status of Criminal Defamation Laws

In April 2013, the International Press Institute ("IPI") and the Association of Caribbean Media Workers conducted a mission to Suriname to encourage government officials to repeal criminal defamation laws.581 IPI reported that Surinamese government officials were generally supportive of the revision of the country's defamation laws, so long as the changes were accompanied by journalist training and a reliable avenue for citizens to voice complaints against the media. Dr. Jennifer Simons, speaker of the Surinamese National Assembly noted that "people need the power to defend their dignity " against the media's tendency to sensationalize and "deliberately print lies," but agreed that imprisonment as a possible punishment was not the means to pursue.582 IPI reported it will work with the Surinamese government on a legislative package that would decriminalize libel and insult while implementing self-regulatory mechanisms to oversee media standards.583 There has been no further update reported on this work.

Similar missions as part of IPI's Campaign to Repeal Criminal Defamation in the Caribbean have directly contributed to the repeal of criminal libel laws in Grenada, the partial decriminalization of defamation in Trinidad and Tobago, and a penal code reform bill pending in the Dominican Republic that would eliminate prison sentences for defamation.584

XI. Uruguay

A. Criminal Laws Restricting Freedom of Expression

Under the Uruguayan Criminal Code, defamation, slander and contempt are considered criminal offenses.585 However, as explained in more detail below, in June 2009 Congress amended the Criminal Code to decriminalize defamation and slander in the context of information and opinions made on matters of public interest, or related to public officers or public figures.586 The scope of the crime of contempt was also limited; now it is no longer a chargeable offense to merely disagree with an order from a public officer.587

1. Defamation

Defamation consists of attributing to any person, in their presence or before others, a determined fact, which if true, would entail a criminal or disciplinary proceeding against such person or would expose the person to public hate or contempt.588 Defamation is punishable by four months to three years of imprisonment, or a fine ranging between eighty and eight hundred Tax Units ("Unidades Reajustables") (equivalent to about US$2,400 to US$24,000).

2. Slander

Slander consists of any offense other than defamation, made by a person against the "honor, honesty or decorum" of another person that is expressed either in words, writings or facts.589

Slander is punishable by imprisonment ranging between three and eighteen months or a fine ranging between sixty and four hundred Unidades Reajustables (equivalent to about US$1,800 to US$12,000).

3. Contempt

Contempt ("desacato") consists of detrimentally affecting the image of a public officer or institution, through either of the following means: (i) insults made in the presence of the public officer or in the place it performs its functions; or (ii) openly refusing to comply with the public officers' legitimate orders.590 However, amendments to the Criminal Code in 2009 limited the scope of this "desacato" crime such that no person may be subject to criminal charges for simply disagreeing with the mandates of an authority.591

4. Aggravating Penalties

Aggravating penalties (which increase the penalties from 1/6 up to 1/3 times) are applicable when the above mentioned crimes are committed through the use of public documents, publicly disseminated or publicly available writings, drawings or paintings.592

5. Defenses

The following conduct will not by itself create criminal liability, except when it can be proved that the offender acted with "actual malice" (deliberate action) to offend the target or violate his or her privacy by:

a. making or divulging statements of any kind on matters of public interest referring either to (i) public officers or to other public figures (considered as such because of their profession), or (ii) to any other person that is voluntarily involved in public interest matters;

b. reproducing any kind of statement on matters of public interest when the author of such statements is identified; and

c. making or divulging any kind of humorous or artistic statement concerning the type of subject matter referred to in either (a) or (b), above.

Those accused of defamation and slander will have the right to prove the truthfulness of the facts and the credibility of the attributions made about the person in question, except when the case involves the privacy of that person or when there was no public interest in divulging these facts. If the truthfulness or credibility of the statement is proved, the author will not be found criminally liable, except if he or she acted with actual malice.

The statute of limitations for the prosecution of a defamation crime and a slander crime is one year and three months, respectively.593

As explained below, the Supreme Court has relied on the concept of actual malice in determining liability for these crimes, which was incorporated into Uruguayan law in June 2009.594 However, it is still unclear how courts have (and will) interpret the meaning of the phrase "actual malice."

B. Enforcement of Criminal Defamation Laws

Before the amendment of the Uruguayan Criminal Code was passed on June 26, 2009, there were several prosecutions against journalists based on allegations of defamation. Law 18,515 narrowed the scope of defamation, slander and contempt by decriminalizing defamation and slander for (a) messages involving information and opinions made on matters of public interest or related to public officers or public figures (except, as explained above, when actual malice is proven or the intention was to offend the privacy of such persons), and (b) by limiting the crime of contempt ("desacato") such that no one can be subject to criminal charges for merely disagreeing with authorities.595 Nonetheless, lawsuits for these offenses continue to be brought against journalists.

The following is a selection of relevant cases resolved both before and after the amendment to the Criminal Code in 2009.

1. Mayor of Guichón

In 2013 a radio broadcaster - whose name was kept confidential - was convicted of slandering the mayor of Guichón.596 The broadcaster was sentenced to nine months in prison, although the execution of this penalty was suspended and he was later released. The court considered the statements made by the broadcaster to exceed mere criticism, finding that the broadcaster aimed to discredit a public authority. The court also held that aggravating circumstances existed because the offense was committed through the media.

2. The Case of Javier Duarte

In July 2009, for the first time after the amendment to defamation and slander in the Criminal Code, the Court of Appeals reversed a first instance ruling of a journalist's conviction for defamation.597 The Court of Appeals referred to the notion of "actual malice." The case concerned a publication made by the journalist Ricardo Morales, reporting the arrest of two policemen that supposedly had tried to introduce cocaine into the country. The Court of Appeals held that—according to the new legislation on freedom of speech—the potential harm to a public officer cannot by itself restrict the freedom of press, because such freedom could not exist if journalists were prevented from publishing news that affected the honor of public officers.

3. The Case of Alvaro Alfonso

In May 2009, the journalist Alvaro Alfonso was convicted of defamation against a politician and senator because of particular statements made in his book.598 The court held that by stating that the politician had collaborated with military forces during the dictatorship, his honor was offended and he was exposed to public hatred and contempt. The journalist was not sentenced to prison, but the conviction was added to his criminal record.

4. Carlos Dogliani

In September 2006, the Supreme Court of Uruguay convicted the journalist Carlos Dogliani of defamation against the mayor of Paysandu and sentenced him to five months imprisonment (the penalty was subsequently suspended).599 In 2004 the journalist had allegedly published various articles questioning the mayor's conduct, including a doubtful exoneration from taxes of a debt related to a real estate investment. The Supreme Court appears to have disregarded the truthfulness of the facts attributed to the mayor and considered that protection of the mayor's honor should prevail over freedom of expression. In making such a ruling, the Supreme Court ignored a 1997 decision holding that public officers are expected to tolerate criticism, and that freedom of expression is meant to prevail over honor provided that the information published is in the public interest. In February 2007, Dogliani filed a suit against the Republic of Uruguay government before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights based on the violation of his freedom of expression. In 2009, the Republic of Uruguay and the journalist reached an agreement to settle the case.

C. Application of Criminal Defamation Laws to Internet and Mobile Communications

In Uruguay, there is no particular legislation concerning crimes committed through the use of Internet and/or mobile communications and therefore, the fact that such crimes are committed through these means does not modify the scope of the application of the law. Aggravating penalties might be applicable for crimes committed through the use of Internet and/or mobile communications given that the crimes are committed through publicly available means.600

D. Status of Criminal Defamation Laws

On June 10, 2009, the Uruguayan Congress approved Law 18,515 on "Medios de Comunicación y Modificación de Varias Disposiciones del Codigo Penal" in order to decriminalize defamation and slander in the context of information and opinions made on matters of public interest or related to public officers or public figures (except when actual malice is proven or the intention was to offend the privacy of such persons).601

These amendments also limited the crime of "desacato" to prevent individuals from becoming subject to criminal charges solely for disagreeing with the authorities.

On the same date, Congress incorporated a provision into Law 16.099 on Communications and Information. This provision established that the criteria set forth in the rulings and opinions of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights shall be taken into account for the purposes of interpreting and applying the civil, procedural and criminal rules concerning expression, opinion and divulging facts related to communications and information—provided, however, that in so doing, the protection level set forth by national legislation or jurisprudence would not be decreased.602

XII. Venezuela

A. Criminal Laws Restricting Freedom of Expression

Venezuela's Criminal Code contains several provisions that may be classified as either criminal defamation or contempt offenses. These provisions are not only in force, but are also actively applied in the journalistic and political contexts.

1. Contempt

Article 147 of the Criminal Code provides that:

"Whoever offends in word or in writing, or otherwise disrespects the President of the Republic or whoever is in possession of the Presidency, will be punished with imprisonment from six to thirty months if the offense was serious, and with half [of that penalty] if the offense was slight. The penalty shall be increased by one-third if the offense was committed publicly."603

In accordance with Article 148 of the Criminal Code, when the actions described in Article 147 are carried out against any of the following officials, the penalty shall be reduced in half: Executive Vice-President of the Republic, a Justice of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, a Minister of the Cabinet, a State Governor, a Deputy of the National Assembly, the Metropolitan Mayor, a rector of the National Electoral Council, the Ombudsperson, the Solicitor General, the Attorney General or the General Comptroller or a member of the Military High Command. In the case of a Municipal Mayor, the penalty shall be reduced by one-third.604

2. Disparagement

Article 149 of the Criminal Code also provides that "whoever publicly denigrates the National Assembly, the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, the Minister's Cabinet as well as any of the Legislative Council of the States or any of the Superior Courts, shall be punished with imprisonment from fifteen days to ten months."605 Such penalty will be reduced in half when the crime is committed against the Municipal Council and the penalty will be increased by half if the offense is committed by a person duly exercising his or her official duties.

3. Defamation

Article 444 provides that whoever communicates with "several people, together or separately " and somehow offends the "honor, reputation or dignity of any person," may be imprisoned from six months to one year and fined 50 to 100 Tax Units, equivalent to US$1,000 to US$2,000.606 If the act is committed in presence of the victim, even if in private, or by writing that is addressed to the victim, or in a public place, the penalty may be increased by a third; if the statement is made publicly, the penalty may be increased by half.

Also, Article 442 of the Penal Code provides that any individual that communicates with several people, together or separately, accusing an individual of a certain act, which could expose [that person] to public contempt or hatred, or which offends his honor or reputation, shall be punished with imprisonment from one to three years and a fine from 100 to 1,000 Tax Units, equivalent to approximately $2,000 to $40,000. If the offense is committed through a public document, writing or drawings released or available to the public, or through other advertising media documents, the penalty shall be two years to four years in prison and a fine from 200 to 2,000 tax units, equivalent to approximately US$2,000 to US$40,000.607

4. Defamation of Public Officials

Article 222 of the Criminal Code establishes that:

"Whoever, by word or deed, offends somehow the honor, reputation or dignity of a member of the National Assembly or a public official, shall be punished as follows if the act took place in his/her presence and because of his/her functions: (1) if the offense was directed against a member of the police force, with imprisonment from one to three months; (2) if the offense was directed against a member of the National Assembly or a public official, with imprisonment from one month to one year, depending on the category of such persons."608

5. Calumnies and False Imputation

The Criminal Code also punishes calumnies or the false imputation of a criminal conduct under its Article 240. Specifically, it provides that "[w]hoever, knowing that an individual is innocent, denounces him/her before any judicial authority or before a public official who has the obligation to process the complaint, imputing an offense, or simulating the appearance or physical evidence of an offense, shall be penalized with prison from six to 30 months."609

Article 240 further provides that the offender shall be imprisoned for a period of 18 months to five years when: (1) the crime that the innocent person is accused of is penalized by law with more than 30 months in prison (i.e. intentional manslaughter); and (2) when the accusation has effectively caused the imprisonment of the accused (innocent) person.

6. Causing Panic in the Community

Article 297-A of the Criminal Code provides that "any person who disseminates through print, radio, television, phone, emails or written pamphlets any false information causing panic in the community or keep[ing] it in distress shall be punished with imprisonment from two to five years." If the events described in the preceding paragraph are committed by a public official, or by a person using anonymity or under the name of another person, the penalty shall be increased by one third.

7. Defenses

Article 443 provides that the truthfulness of the statement cannot be used as a defense except when (i) the victim is a public officer, provided that the offensive statement is related to the officer's functions; (ii) a trial is pending against the victim stemming from the same set of facts that was attributed to the victim by the alleged offender; or (iii) when plaintiff requests that the court make a final determination on the truth or falsity of the allegedly defamatory facts.

B. Enforcement of Criminal Defamation Laws

The Criminal Chamber of Venezuela's Supreme Tribunal of Justice has held that there is a subjective element of intent contained within the crime of defamation called so-called animus difamandi. This is the intention to disparage or discredit the victim, which is aggravated when the statement or message is disseminated through public documents, graphics, writings or other public means.610 The following are the most notable criminal defamation cases in Venezuela.

1. Case of Guillermo Zuloaga

On March 21, 2010, Guillermo Zuloaga, the then President of the TV news station Globovisión, gave a statement before the General Assembly of the Inter-American Society of Press concerning the political situation in Venezuela.611 The National Assembly considered this statement to be false and the Public Prosecutor's Office requested an arrest warrant on charges of "false information" and "offenses against the Head of Government," as provided by Articles 297-A and 147 of the Criminal Code.

On March 25, 2010, the Attorney General ordered the arrest of Zuloaga, and he was detained for questioning. On March 26, 2010, the Attorney General stated that Mr. Zuloaga would be tried in liberty.612 Zuloaga is now living in exile.613 We have not been able to verify the current status of the criminal proceedings against Zuloaga.

2. Leocenis García and 6to Poder

In 2011, Leocenis García, the owner of the weekly 6to Poder was charged with inciting hatred, insulting a public official, and publicly denigrating women in connection with a satirical article on government officials published in the weekly. Mr. García was imprisoned for several weeks but later released.614

3. Case of Francisco Pérez

On February 4, 2013, the journalist Francisco "Pancho" Pérez was accused by the Government Secretary of the State of Carabobo, Miguel Flores, of "aggravated defamation and libel." This accusation followed the publication by the journalist of an opinion in his weekly column in the newspaper El Carabobeño, where he associated the public official with a fire generated in the landfill of Guásima on January 1, 2013.615 On June 18, 2013, it was reported that Perez Flores agreed before the trial Court that he would withdraw his statements.616 Ultimately, no penalties were imposed.617

4. Case of Leonardo León

After the presidential elections held on April 14, 2013, journalist Leonardo León was accused by the governor of the State of Mérida, Ramón Ramírez, of defamation. This accusation followed León's report on his radio show that motorized forces supported by the government committed violent acts in Mérida,618 which damaged some facilities of the University of Merida. According to a press release, the governor began the criminal proceeding on the grounds that the journalist exposed him to contempt and public hatred, offending his honor and reputation while on duty. On January 14, 2014, the First Trial Court of the Merida District closed the case on the basis of Ramirez's abandonment of the proceedings.619 No penalty was ultimately imposed on León.

C. Application of Criminal Defamation Laws to Internet and Mobile Communications

Criminal defamation laws in Venezuela appear to be applicable to statements made through the Internet or mobile communications, as the legislation does not make a distinction between the means by which the defamatory statement is made, except to increase the punishment imposed on the offender. For instance, Article 444(2) of the Penal Code provides that if defamation is committed through public documents, writings, graphics or other public means the punishment is more severe.620

D. Status of Criminal Defamation Laws

To the best of our knowledge, there have been no recent attempts or discussions to amend or decriminalize criminal defamation laws in Venezuela.

375 Argentinian Criminal Code, art. 109.

376 Id.

377 United States Dollars will be referred to as "$" for the purposes of this report.

378 See the Carlos and Pablo Mémoli v. Argentina case in the regional jurisprudence section on IACHR cases.

379 Freedom House, Freedom of the Press 2012, available at http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press/2013/argentina.

380 La Justicia anuló la denuncia de Echegaray contra Majul, La Nación, January 3, 2013, available at http://www.lanacion.com.ar/1542548-la-justicia-anulo-la-denuncia-de-echegaray-contra-majul.

381 Síntesis fallo: "Menem, Carlos S. c. Editorial Perfil S.A. y otros," by Damian Loretti, available at http://www.catedras.fsoc.uba.ar/loreti/jurisprudencia_relevante/sintesis_menem_loreti.pdf.

382 Id.

383 Id.

384 Freedom House, Freedom of the Press 2012 (2012), available at http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press/2013/argentina. See also Brief of the Committee to Protect Journalists as Amicus Curiae in the "Fontevecchia & D'Amico v. Argentina" case filed on September 9, 2011.

385 Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Case of Fontevecchia and D'Amico v. Argentina, Judgment November 29, 2011 (Case No 12.524 ) ¶ 71, available at http://www.corteidh.or.cr/index.php/en/decisions-and-judgments.

386 Id.

387 Freedom House, Freedom of the Press 2012 (2012), available at http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press/2013/argentina.

388 See Belén Rodriguez v. Google (case No. 99.613/06), summaries available at http://ebertoni.blogspot.com/2014/11/supreme-court-of-argentina-rules-google.html and http://thefreeinternetproject.org/blog/argentinean-supreme-court-rules-favor-google-and-yahoo-civil-liability-search-engines-mar%C3%ADa.

389 Id.

390 Kelly/Warner, International Defamation Law Legal Database, available at http://kellywarnerlaw.com/argentina-defamation-laws.

391 Penal Code, art. 282, available at http://www.oas.org/juridico/spanish/gapeca_sp_docs_bol1.pdf.

392 Id. art. 283.

393 Id. art. 287.

394 Article 14 of the Printing Regulation approved by Supreme Decree of July 17, 1920. Available at http://bolivia.infoleyes.com/shownorm.php?id=2272.

395 Kelly Warner, International Defamation Law Database, http://kellywarnerlaw.com/bolivia-defamation-laws.

396 Printing Regulation approved by Supreme Decree of July 17, 1920. It was elevated to the status of law by a Law of 19 January 1925 available at http://bolivia.infoleyes.com/shownorm.php?id=2272.

397 Id.

398 Kelly Warner, International Defamation Law Database, available at http://kellywarnerlaw.com/bolivia-defamation-laws; See also, Defamation Conviction in Bolivia Part of Wider Trend, International Press Institute, March 23, 2012, available at http://www.freemedia.at/index.php?id=288&tx_ttnews%5 btt_news%5d=6124&cHash=97ba561858.

399 Id.

400 View press release in the Bolivian newspaper La Razón "El periodista Juan Pastén fue detenido en Santa Cruz," available at http://www.la-razon.com/index.php?_url=/ciudades/periodista-Juan-Pasten-Santa-Cruz_0_1431456880.html.

401 Juan Pastén internado en una clínica tras ser aprehendido por difamación contra el vice de la FBF, El Día, July 15, 2011, available at http://www.eldia.com.bo/index.php?cat=1&pla=3&id_articulo=68428.

402 See http://videobolivia.com/sentencia-del-juez-juicio-al-periodista-deportivo-juan-pasten/.

403 View press release in the Bolivian newspaper La Razón "Gobierno denuncia ante la Fiscalía a los medios ANF, Página Siete y El Diario," available at (Spanish only) http://www.la-razon.com/sociedad/Gobierno-Fiscalia-ANF-Pagina-Diario_0_1675032530.html.

404 See the full Constitutional Sentence, available at (in Spanish only) http://es.scribd.com/doc/112706420/Sentencia-Constitucional-Plurinacional-1250-Desacato.

405 Brazilian Criminal Code, article 138, available at http://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/decreto-lei/del2848.htm.

406 Id. art. 139.

407 Id. art. 140.

408 Id. art. 141.

409 See CPJ, Halftime for the Brazilian press, available at http://cpj.org/reports/2014/05/halftime-for-brazilian-press-censorship-violence-censorship-via-courts.php.

410 Freedom House, 2013 Freedom of Press Report (Brazil) available at http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press/2013/brazil.

411 See The New York Times. "Brazil's Top Court Strikes Down Restrictive Biography Law," available at http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/06/10/world/americas/ap-lt-brazil-biography-battle.html?_r=0.

412 Justiça censura Estado e proíbe informações sobre Sarney, Pilitica, July 31, 2009, available at http://www.estadao.com.br/noticias/nacional,justica-censura-estado-e-proibe-informacoes-sobre-sarney,411711,0.htm.

413 See http://politica.estadao.com.br/noticias/geral,tj-df-mantem-censura-ao-estado,1034477.

414 Kelly / Warner, International Defamation Law Database, available at http://kellywarnerlaw.com/brazil-defamation-laws.

415 Jornalista Joe Sharkey é condenado por ofender a nação brasileira, Canal da Imprensa, November 22, 2011, available at http://www.canaldaimprensa.com.br/leitura.asp?id=0210.

416 Brazilian journalist ordered to pay damages in libel case, Committee to Protect Journalists, January 31, 2013, available at https://www.cpj.org/2013/01/brazilian-journalist-ordered-to-pay-damages-in-lib.php.

417 Id.

418 Special Appeal No. 328.441 - SP, available at https://ww2.stj.jus.br/processo/jsp/revista/abreDocumento.jsp?componente=MON&sequencial=29506448&formato=PDF.

419 Mantida sentença que condenou jornalista por texto fictício, Consultor Jurídico, October 27, 2013, available at http://www.conjur.com.br/2013-out-27/mantida-sentenca-condenou-jornalista-injuria-texto-ficticio.

420 Special Appeal No.1.414.887 - DF, available at https://ww2.stj.jus.br/revistaeletronica/Abre_Documento.asp?sSeq=1282729&sReg=201303125191&sData=20131128&formato=PDF.

421 See CPJ, Journalists convicted of criminal defamation in Brazil, March 13, 2014, available at http://cpj.org/2014/05/journalists-convicted-of-criminal-defamation-in-br.php.

422 See CPJ, Journalists convicted of criminal defamation in Brazil, March 13, 2014, available at http://cpj.org/2014/05/journalists-convicted-of-criminal-defamation-in-br.php.

423 Law No. 10,741, October 1, 20133, available at http://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/leis/2003/l10.741.htm.

424 Brazilian Senate website (2013), available at http://www12.senado.gov.br/noticias/materias/2013/12/17/aprovado-na-comissao-especial-novo-projeto-do-codigo-penal.

425 Id. art. 141.

426 Brazilian Senate website (2013), available at http://www.senado.gov.br/atividade/materia/getPDF.asp?t=111516&tp=1.

427 Criminal Code, art. 416: "It is libel every utter expression or executed action in dishonor, discredit or scorn of another person."

428 Chilean legislation distinguishes between (i) Crimes, penalty of more than five years of imprisonment; (ii) Simple Felonies, penalty that ranges between 61 days to five years of imprisonment; and (iii) Faults, which are those with a penalty of 60 days of imprisonment or less.

429 Law of Press, available at http://www.leychile.cl/Navegar?idNorma=186049.

430 Id. art. 2.

431 Id. art. 29.

432 Criminal Code, art. 420 ("No evidence shall be admitted from the accused of libel concerning the truth of the imputations, if such imputations are not aimed at public employees regarding events related to the performance of their positions. In this case, the accused will be absolved if he proves the truth of the imputations."

433 Law of Press, art. 30.

434 See also IACHR case Alejandra Matus v. Chile in the regional jurisprudence section.

435 Chilean journalist on trial for accusing ex-army officer of repression, Knight Center for Journalism in The Americas (University of Texas at Austin), January 14, 2010, available at http://knightcenter.utexas.edu/archive/blog/?q=en/node/6211.

436 Latin America takes steps against criminal defamation, Committee to Protect Journalists, February 26, 2010, available at http://www.cpj.org/blog/2010/02/latin-american-rulings-steps-against-criminal-defa.php.

437 Seventh Criminal Judge of Santiago, January 22nd, 2010, file No. 5897-2007.

438 Chilean Supreme Court rejected the appeal after a recourse filed by Dimter, and confirmed the decision of the trial court. File No.1369-2010, May 18th 2010.

439 Criminal Judge of Coquimbo on June 7th, 2010, file No. 0-840-2010.

440 In ¶ 8 of its decision, the Court held that "[n]o evidence was provided by the plaintiff to establish animus injuriandi, neither the purpose nor the manifest intent to injure." File No.193-2010, July 27th, 2010, Court of Appeals of La Serena.

441 Colombian Criminal Code, art. 220.

442 Constitutional Court of Colombia, Ruling 442/2011 dated May 25, 2011, available at http://www.corteconstitucional.gov.co/relatoria/2011/C-442-11.htm.

443 Colombian Criminal Code, art. 221.

444 Constitutional Court of Colombia, Ruling 442/2011 dated May 25, 2011, available at http://www.corteconstitucional.gov.co/relatoria/2011/C-442-11.htm.

445 Colombian Criminal Code, art. 222.

446 Id. art. 224.

447 Id. art. 227.

448 Id. art. 225.

449 Available at http://issuu.com/flip-publicaciones/docs/fuera_de_juicio_paginas_individuales_2_.

450 Supreme Court of Colombia, Decision No. 38.909, July 10, 2013, available at http://190.24.134.121/webcsj/Documentos/ComuniCorte/Prensa/2013/Casaci%C3%B3n%20sistema%20acusatorio%20No.38.909.pdf.

451 Id.

452 The journalist referred to her as being "arrogant, imperative, tyrant, proud, humiliating and psychologically altered," among others.

453 Supreme Court of Colombia, Decision No. 38.909, July 10, 2013, available at http://190.24.134.121/webcsj/Documentos/ComuniCorte/Prensa/2013/Casaci%C3%B3n%20sistema%20acusatorio%20No.38.909.pdf.

454 Decision of the Appeal Court of the district of Bogotá (Tribunal Superior del Distrito Judicial de Bogota) July 7, 2011, available at http://flip.org.co/resources/documents/974fa5bd7a7ebafc67f4595ce51e2cdc.pdf.

455 Id.

456 Id.

457 Colombian Criminal Code, art. 223.

458 See http://www.elnuevodia.com.co/nuevodia/especiales/generales/240410-con-proyecto-de-ley-fiscalia-busca-proteger-la-libertad-de-expresion.

459 Ecuadorean Criminal Code, art. 489.

460 Id. art. 490.

461 "President of Ecuador to Pardon Four in Libel Case," The New York Times, February 27, 2012, available at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/28/world/americas/president-of-ecuador-to-pardon-four-in-libel-case.html?_r=0.

462 Id.

463 CPJ, Ecuadorian provincial reporter jailed on defamation charges, May 2, 2011, available at http://cpj.org/2011/05/ecuadoran-provincial-reporter-jailed-on-defamation.php.

464 CPJ, Ecuadorian media executive sentenced to jail, December 28, 2011, available at http://cpj.org/2011/12/ecuadoran-media-executive-sentenced-to-jail.php.

465 CPJ, Ecuadorian journalists ordered to pay president $2 million, February 7, 2012, available at http://cpj.org/2012/02/ecuadoran-journalists-ordered-to-pay-president-2-m.php.

466 CPJ, Despite pardon, Correa does lasting damage to press, February 27, 2012, available at https://www.cpj.org/2012/02/despite-pardon-correa-does-lasting-damage-to-press.php.

467 CPJ, Newspaper director gets jail for defamation in Ecuador, March 12, 2013, available at https://cpj.org/2013/03/newspaper-director-gets-jail-for-defamation-in-ecu.php.

495 Guyanese Defamation Act, available at http://guyaneselawyer.com/lawsofguyana/Laws/cap603.pdf.

496 Guyanese Criminal Law Offences Act, available at http://www.oas.org/juridico/mla/en/guy/en_guy-int-text-cl_act.pdf.

497 Guyanese Criminal Law Offences Act, art. 108.

498 Id.

499 Id. art. 109.

500 Id. art. 114 (a).

501 Id. art. 114 (b).

502 Id. art. 114 (c).

503 Id. art. 321.

504 Id. art. 348.

505 Id. art. 351.

506 Id. art. 110 (a) to (j).

507 Id. art. 111 (1).

508 Id. art. 111 (2).

509 Id. art. 111 (3).

510 Id. art. 112 (1).

511 Id. art. 112 (2).

512 Id. art. 113.

513 Id. art. 348 (2).

514 Final Report on the 2013 IPI Mission to Guyana: Focus on Criminal Defamation, International Press Institute, 2013, available at http://www.freemedia.at/fileadmin/media/Documents/IPI_mission_reports/Guyana_Mission_Report_2013.pdf.

515 Selling of obscene material, criminal defamation . . . Int'l press body urges removal of archaic laws, August 6, 2013, Kaieteur News, available at http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2013/08/06/selling-of-obscene-material-criminal-defamationintl-press-body-urges-removal-of-archaic-laws/.

516 Guyanese Criminal Law Offences Act, art. 108 (2).

517 Government reviewing criminal defamation law - Nandlall, Guyana Times, May 4, 2013, available at http://www.guyanatimesgy.com/?p=12911.

518 Freedom House website: http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press/2013/Paraguay.

519 Paraguay Criminal Code, Law Nº. 1.160 of 1997.

520 Paraguay Criminal Code, art. 150.

521 Id. art. 151.

522 "Penalty-day" is a concept defined in article 52 of the Paraguayan Penal Code. The sum of a penalty-day is equivalent to the average daily income of the convict considering his/her income or overall wealth.

523 According to article 52 of the Paraguayan Penal Code, the fine may be equivalent to 180 to 360 penalty-days.

524 Paraguay Criminal Code, art. 151 §§ 3-5.

525 Id. art. 52.

526 The fine is equivalent to 90 penalty-days.

527 Paraguayan Criminal Code, arts. 151 §§ 3-5, 152 § 3.

528 Freedom House website: http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press/2013/Paraguay; see also case against Paraguayan politician Ricardo Canese under the regional jurisprudence section on IACHR cases.

529 Enjuician a periodistas de Paraguay por Difamación, Blog Periodismo en las Americas, August 22, 2011, available at https://knightcenter.utexas.edu/es/blog/enjuician-periodistas-de-paraguay-por-difamacion.

530 Periodistas de Canal 9 son absueltos y una fuente recibe condena, La Nación, August 27, 2011, available at http://www.lanacion.com.py/articulo/36352-periodistas-de-canal-9-son-absueltos-y-una-fuente-recibe-condena.html.

531 Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa, Asamblea 2012 Reunión de Medio Año Cádiz España, Informe Par aguay, April 23, 2012, available at http://www.sipiapa.org/asamblea/paraguay-68/.

532 "Aberrante" decisión judicial contra periodista, ABC Color, September 12, 2011, available at http://www.abc.com.py/edicion-impresa/politica/aberrante-decision-judicial-contra-periodista-306947.html.

533 Freedom House website: http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press/2013/Paraguay.

534 Id.

535 Id.

536 Paraguayan Criminal Code, arts. 151-53.

537 Tribunal Constitucional elimina el delito de desacato del Código Penal, ANF, available at http://noticiasfides.com/g/politica/tribunal-constitucional-elimina-el-delito-de-desacato-del-codigo-penal-6373/.

538 Human Rights Watch. Informe Mundial 2014: Perú, available at http://www.hrw.org/es/world-report/2014/country-chapters/122041.

539 "Desacato es enterrado en el Perú: (QEPD)," Red mundial periodistas contra el crimen organizado y la corrupción, Flores Araoz, Antero, April 11, 2006, available at http://periodistascontraelcrimen.blogspot.com/2006/04/desacato-es-enterrado-en-el-per-qepd.html.

540 Peruvian Criminal Code approved by Legislative Decree No 635, article 130. The fine is equivalent to 60 to 90 penalty-days. According to article 41 of Peru's Criminal Code, a "penalty-day " is equivalent to the average income of the convict, considering his/her overall wealth.

541 Peruvian Criminal Code, art. 131 (fine is equivalent to 90 to 120 penalty-days).

542 Id. art. 132.

543 A "penalty-day " is equivalent to the average income of the convict, considering his/her overall wealth. See id. art. 41.

544 Plenary Agreement 3-2006/CJ-116 dated 13 October 2006.

545 Id.

546 "Acusan a vocal César San Martín de violar el debido proceso," Peru 21, September 16, 2013, available at http://peru21.pe/politica/acusan-vocal-cesar-san-martin-violar-debido-proceso-2149373.

547 In addition, the Northern provinces of Ancash and La Libertad are particularly dangerous for journalists because reports of violence and physical aggression against them increased in 2013. See Human Rights Watch. Informe Mundial 2014: Perú, available at http://www.hrw.org/es/world-report/2014/country-chapters/122041; "Perú: 60 atentados reportados y 70 periodistas agredidos en el balance anual del IPYS," IPYS, December 18, 2013, available at http://www.ipys.org/noticia/1680.

548 CPJ, Peruvian Supreme Court frees editor jailed for defamation, June 12, 2010, available at http://cpj.org/2010/06/peruvian-supreme-court-frees-editor-jailed-for-def.php.

549 CPJ, Peru frees journalist jailed for defamation, October 31, 2011, available at http://cpj.org/2011/10/peru-frees-journalist-jailed-for-defamation.php.

550 CPJ, CPJ condemns criminal defamation conviction in Peru, July 14, 2011, available at http://www.cpj.org/2011/07/cpj-condemns-criminal-defamation-conviction-in-per.php.

551 CPJ, Two Peruvian journalists found guilty of defamation, June 6, 2012, available at http://cpj.org/2012/06/two-peruvian-journalists-found-guilty-of-defamatio.php.

552 CPJ, Peruvian journalist's defamation conviction overturned, April 2, 2012, available at http://cpj.org/2012/04/in-peru-court-court-overturns-defamation-convictio.php.

553 CPJ, Peruvian journalist convicted in criminal defamation case, May 31, 2013, available at http://www.cpj.org/2013/05/peruvian-journalist-convicted-in-criminal-defamati.php.

554 CPJ, In Peru, journalist handed suspended jail term, September 26, 2013, available at http://www.cpj.org/2013/09/in-peru-journalist-handed-suspended-jail-term.php.

555 Comisión Permanente Acuerda Despenalizar Delito de Difamación, RPP Noticias, July 21, 2011, available at http://www.rpp.com.pe/2011-07-21-comision-permanente-acuerda-despenalizar-delito-de-difamacion-noticia_386872.html.

556 Criminal Code of Suriname (Wetboek van Strafrecht voor Suriname) (orig. 1910, last updated 2004, available at http://www.wipo.int/wipolex/en/text.jsp?file_id=209839 (Dutch).

557 See International Press Institute, Final Report on the 2013 IPI Mission to Suriname: Focus on Criminal Defamation, 9 (2013), available at http://www.freemedia.at/fileadmin/media/Documents/IPI_mission_reports/Suriname_Mission_Report_2013.pdf.

558 Criminal Code of Suriname, § 320.

559 Id. § 320.

560 Id. § 328.

561 Id. § 327.

562 Id. § 321.

563 Id. § 330.

564 Id. § 325.

565 Id. § 320.

566 Id. § 322.

567 Id. § 171.

568 Id. §§ 152, 173, 157-58.

569 Id. § 153.

570 Id. §176a-b.

571 International Press Institute, IPI Special Report: Criminal defamation laws remain widespread in the Caribbean, International Press Institute, Feb. 13, 2013, http://www.freemedia.at/home/singleview/article/ipi-special-report-criminal-defamation-laws-remain-widespread-in-the-caribbean.html.

572 International Press Institute, Suriname, International Press Institute, Apr. 25, 2007, http://service.cms.apa.at/cms/ipi/freedom_detail.html?country=/KW0001/KW0002/KW0029/.

573 Id.

574 Id.

575 International Press Institute, supra note 1, at 10.

576 Sitaram, supra note 12.

577 International Press Institute, supra note 1, at 10.

578 Criminal Code of Suriname §§ 320, 171.

579 Id. §§ 152, 173, 157-58.

580 Id. § 153.

581 International Press Institute, supra note 1, at 9-10.

582 Id. at 10.

583 Id. at 17.

584 International Press Institute, Trinidad and Tobago partially decriminalises defamation, International Press Institute, Feb. 22, 2014, http://ipi.freemedia.at/special-pages/newssview/article/trinidad-and-tobago-partially-decriminalises-defamation.html.

585 See Uruguayan Criminal Code, available at http://www.oas.org/juridico/mla/sp/ury/sp_ury-int-text-cp.pdf.

586 See Ley Nº 18.515 de MEDIOS DE COMUNICACIÓN, dated June 26, 2009, available at http://www.parlamento.gub.uy/leyes/AccesoTextoLey.asp?Ley=18515&Anchor.

587 Id.

588 Uruguayan Criminal Code, art. 333.

589 Id. art. 334.

590 Id. art. 173.

591 See id., last sentences of art. 173.

592 Id. art. 335.

593 Id. art. 339.

594 See Ley Nº 18.515 de MEDIOS DE COMUNICACIÓN, dated June 26, 2009, available at http://www.parlamento.gub.uy/leyes/AccesoTextoLey.asp?Ley=18515&Anchor.

595 See summary of the 2009 General Assembly of the Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa, available in Spanish at http://www.sipiapa.org/asamblea/uruguay-31/.

596 Available at http://www.poderjudicial.gub.uy/images/resoluciones/sent_10-04-13_injurias_ley16099_paysandu_jueza_ramos.pdf.

597 SIP Report on Uruguay, available at http://www.sipiapa.org/asamblea/uruguay-63/.

598 La SIP expresa su preocupación por la condena a un periodista en Uruguay por difamación, Soitu, May 22, 2009, available at http://www.soitu.es/soitu/2009/05/22/info/1242946206_274356.html; see also Uruguay: Alfonso condenado por difamar al PCU, Kaosenlared.net, March 14, 2011, available at http://old.kaosenlared.net/noticia/uruguay-alfonso-condenado-difamar-pcu.

599 Available at http://es.rsf.org/uruguay-la-corte-suprema-condena-a-la-03-10-2006,19046.html.

600 Uruguayan Criminal Code, art. 335.

601 See summary of the 2009 and 2010 General Assembly of the Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa, available in Spanish at http://www.sipiapa.org/asamblea/uruguay-31/ and http://www.sipiapa.org/asamblea/uruguay-63/.

602 See art. 3 of Ley Nº 18.515 de MEDIOS DE COMUNICACIÓN, dated June 26, 2009, available at http://www.parlamento.gub.uy/leyes/AccesoTextoLey.asp?Ley=18515&Anchor.

603 Venezuelan Criminal Code, art. 147.

604 Id. art. 148.

605 Id. art. 149.

606 Id. art. 444.

607 Id. art. 442.

608 Id. art. 222.

609 Id. art. 240.

610 Supreme Court of Justice, Criminal Chamber, Decision N° 497 October 2, 2008.

611 CIDH Rechaza Detención de Guillermo Zuloaga, available at http://www.cidh.org/comunicados/Spanish/2010/37-10sp.htm.

612 Guillermo Zuloaga será enjuiciado en libertad en Venezuela, ABN, March 26, 2010, available at http://www.radiolaprimerisima.com/noticias/73356/guillermo-zuloaga-sera-enjuiciado-en-libertad-en-venezuela.

613 El uso de la justicia es la nueva amenaza a la libertad de prensa en Latinoamérica, El País, October 30, 2011, available at http://internacional.elpais.com/internacional/2011/10/30/actualidad/1320002660_066961.html.

614 CPJ, Venezuelan newspaper shut, executives charged, August 24, 2011, available at http://cpj.org/2011/08/venezuelan-newspaper-shut-executives-charged.php; CPJ, Venezuela weekly reopens, executives still charged, August 30, 2011, available at https://cpj.org/2011/08/venezuelan-weekly-allowed-to-reopen-executives-sti.php.

615 Journalist Pancho Pérez Agreed to Publicly Withdraw His Statement, Gobernación de Carabobo, June 18, 2013, available at http://www.carabobo.gob.ve/index.php/noticias/692-flores-pancho-perez-accedio-a-retractarse-publicamente.

616 Id.

617 Id.

618 First Criminal Trial Court of Mérida, Case No. LP01-P-2013-016385, January 14, 2014, available at http://comunicacioncontinua.com/motivacion-de-la-sentencia-caso-periodista-leonardo-leon/.

619 Id.

620 Venezuelan Criminal Code, art. 444(2).

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