SALTA, Argentina – The legislative branches in countries in the Americas continue to regulate freedom of expression, instead of holding it to be an absolute right, the Organization of American States’ special rapporteur for freedom of expression, Uruguay’s Edison Lanza, warned Sunday at the 74th general assembly of the Inter American Press Association.
Lanza spoke at the meeting being held in Salta, Argentina, within the framework of a debate prior to the IAPA’s Digital Declaration and in which Peruvian attorney Erick Iriarte, a member of the group of judges and public management experts linked with creative and cultural industries, and the president of the society and editor of Peru’s La Republica daily, Gustavo Mohme, also took part.
Lanza made his comments regarding the eagerness to regulate the press while discussing the concept of protected speech included within the OAS’s Inter American Legal Framework on the Right to Freedom of Expression, a systematic analysis of inter-American standards on freedom of expression that includes a review of certain important rulings and laws on the matter.
“Regarding the issue of protected or non-protected speech ... we can have a more corporative vision and say: freedom of expression is absolute, without any kind of censure, but the reality is that I’ve been rapporteur for four years and, if I look back, I see in the reports we’ve put out that the legislative branches continue regulating the issue ... all the time,” Lanza said.
Iriarte, meanwhile, called for regulatory protection for journalists who use intermedia platforms, including YouTube, saying that of the 29 journalists murdered in the region so far this year two were YouTubers who did not use online media.
“They also need protection; the intermedia platform must have certain obligations to them,” said Iriarte in his remarks to the group.
The IAPA, a private non-profit entity focusing on defending and promoting freedom of the press and expression in the Americas, includes editors and publishers of more than 1,300 communications media in the Americas and is based in Miami.