PROPOSALS FORWARDED TO DECRIMINALISE DEFAMATION
Meanwhile, the Argentinian government is presently considering some proposals which would make Argentina the first country in Latin America to "decriminalise slander and defamation of public functionaries," reports Periodistas (Asociacion para la Defensa del Periodismo Independiente, Argentinian Association for the Defence of Independent Journalism). The proposals which were made by Periodistas were recently sent by the ruling party for consideration by Congress. Under the proposal, public functionaries who feel offended can still seek damages, but this will occur in a civil court and not in a penal court. According to Periodistas, the proposal's acceptance would mean "people will no longer be threatened with losing their rights to freedom of expression and information as a result of public interests." The amendments to the penal code would also result in shorter resolutions of the cases for both the functionaries and the journalists up on charges.
This move is made by the Argentinian government one year after Periodistas first presented a formal condemnation of the Argentinian government for violations of free expression to Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (ICHR) through the OAS's special rapporteur for freedom of expression, Santiago Canton. The ICHR convened in October, resulting in the national government's acceptance of Periodistas suggestion that the national authorities "should initiate the reform of the civil and penal codes as elaborated" by Periodistas.