The Dominican Republic is among the countries with the best ratings according to the book “Chapultepec Index of Freedom of Expression and the Press”, which is an annual barometer that establishes an assessment of the actions in this area of States of the American hemisphere.
According to the second edition of the Index published by the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA), the Dominican Republic is one of the countries with “low restrictions on press freedom.” Also in that category are Jamaica, Canada, Costa Rica, Peru, Paraguay, Panama, the United States and Honduras.
The report covers the period between July 31, 2020 and August 1, 2021, so for the country it does not include what happened in the Vehicle Retention Center of the General Directorate of Traffic Safety and Land Transport (Digesett ) of the National Police, installed in the old El Coco Greyhound Track, where members of the Ombudsman’s office and the press were attacked by members of the Digesett, when they tried to carry out an inspection in the face of complaints about the way in which it is being being administered the Dog Track. In the event, the Dog Track agents seized the camera and a cell phone belonging to this newspaper, in addition to destroying the CDN equipment.
Nor was it taken into account that a bill was approved in the Senate that regulates the exercise of the right to privacy, honor, good name and one’s own image, presented by the ruling senator for Bahoruco, Melania Salvador, which has been popularly baptized as the “gag law”, which would force journalists to submit their information about people for their consideration, in a prior censorship that is only practiced in dictatorial regimes.
The IAPA itself expressed concern about various bills in the Dominican Republic that insist on the criminal nature of defamation, including in cyberspace, and overprotect leaders from criticism.
According to the union, the situation has an inhibiting effect on press freedom and journalistic work.
Through a statement, the IAPA criticized that the reform of the Dominican Penal Code punishes offenses against the president, ministers, legislators, and diplomatic representatives with prison, alleging that the measure is contrary to international standards that promote eliminating the crime of contempt. to avoid privileges of the authorities over the citizens.
Both factors could affect the Dominican Republic’s score for the next edition of the union’s report.
Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela repeated as the worst rated countries in the category “without freedom of the press”.
A repression of freedom of the press and expression that “has even been accentuated in Nicaragua and Cuba” with the “persecution and attacks on journalists,” said Carlos Jornet, president of the Commission on Freedom of the Press and Information.