Local organizations representing the media and journalists criticised the ambiguity of some articles in the law and warned about possible negative impacts on press freedom, the right to privacy, and professional secrecy.
IAPA expressed concern over several bills in the Dominican Republic that insist on the criminal nature of defamation, including in cyberspace, and overprotect leaders from criticism. All this has a chilling effect on press freedom and journalistic work.
A Dominican Republic court sentenced Matías Avelino Castro to 20 years in prison for his role in the 2011 murder of journalist José Agustín Silvestre.
The threats were in response to a segment aired on Alicia Ortega’s show about Matías Avelino Castro, detained in La Victoria prison while he stands trial for allegedly ordering the murder of journalist José Agustín Silvestre.
Gunned down journalist, known for his critical views of authorities, was shot dead along with his producer.
In a partial victory for media freedom, the Dominican Republic Constitutional Court invalidated provisions in the country’s press law criminalising defamation of government bodies and public officials, but declined to strike down criminal defamation more broadly.
The first half of 2015 has been arduous for journalists in the Dominican Republic, with physical attacks, threats, prosecutions and a murder.
Juan Bolívar Díaz, Huchi Lora, Amelia Deschamps and Roberto Cavada, four of the country’s most influential television journalists received death threats from people who accuse them of being “anti-Dominican traitors” as a result of their criticism of government policies.
At least three journalists were injured while covering clashes between police and protesters of Haitian origin in the Dominican capital on 20 September.
Journalist Pedro Fernandez was unhurt in the second attack in a week after reporting on the illegal drug trade in San Francisco de Macorís.
Pedro Fernández, El Nacional newspaper’s correspondent in San Francisco de Macorís, capital of the northern department of Duarte, reported at the beginning of January 2014 that he has evidence that a local drug dealer known as “Michel” has hired two contract killers to murder him.
An appellate court in the Dominican Republic has thrown out the conviction of a journalist who had been sentenced to three months in prison for defamation last September.
The Canadian multinational clothing manufacturer Gildan has agreed to drop criminal defamation and insult charges against two Dominican Republic investigative journalists, the International Press Institute has learned from local sources.
Two journalists are facing sentences of three months to a year in prison and fines of five to 500 times the minimum wage in a criminal defamation suit by Canadian textile multinational Gildan Activewear over reports about harm to the environment in Guerra, a municipality in Santo Domingo province.