Using the Law Against Femicide to Deter Journalists

The Committee to Protect Journalists has issued an alert on the criminal suit against three journalists under the ‘violence against women’ law. By using this law, to deter journalists from asking questions, is an interesting and novel use of law-fare in deterring those who seek to raise the issue of corruption with public officials.

Guatemalan authorities should drop all charges against three journalists from the independent newspaper elPeriódico and stop using laws intended to protect women from violence to target and intimidate reporters, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Wednesday.

On May 13, Judge Anaelsee Ramírez formally notified elPeriódico publisher José Rubén Zamora, editor Gerson Ortiz, and reporter Cristian Velix of a restraining order in connection with a criminal lawsuit filed by Dina Bosch Ochoa, a Guatemalan official and the daughter of Dina Ochoa, the president of Guatemala’s Constitutional Court, according to Guatemalan news website Agencia Ocote.

Zamora told CPJ via phone that Bosch Ochoa accused them of “violence against women in the public sphere” after the outlet reported in April that the Guatemalan Electoral Authority renewed her contract for an unspecified position within the agency and covered her alleged links to a corruption case.

The restraining order bars the journalists from approaching the plaintiff or her family members — including Bosch’s mother, a public official – and reporting on them. If convicted of psychological violence against women under the Law Against Femicide, the journalists face five to eight years in prison.

You can read the full piece, with links, here, Guatemalan official files criminal suit against 3 journalists under violence against women law.

The Committee to Protect Journalists is an independent, nonprofit organization that promotes press freedom worldwide, and you can find out more, here CPJ – About.

Agencia Ocote was founded in response to the need to find different ways to investigate, reflect and narrate the Mesoamerican reality in depth and with multidisciplinary views. It deals with issues related to women and gender; media; historical memory and justice; culture and environment, and you can find out more, in Spanish, here, Agencia Ocote – Quiénes Somos.

Categories: Corruption, Criminalisation, Femicide, Guatemala, Human Rights, Impunity, Justice, Solidarity in Action, Solidarity in Action/Guatemala, Violence

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