Inter-American Court to consider case of Argentine journalists sentenced for offending former president

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  • December 30, 2010

By Maira Magro

The Inter American Commission on Human Rights presented a complaint against Argentina before the Inter-American Court of the Organization of American States for violating the freedom of expression of two journalists who 15 years ago revealed that ex-President Carlos Menem had a child out of wedlock.

Journalists Jorge Fontevecchia and Héctor D’Amico, who in 1995 worked as director and editor, respectively, of the magazine Noticias, were sentenced to pay for moral damages inflicted against the president for publishing stories about a child the president did not recognize that he had with a congress member.

Although the child's paternity later was recognized, reported Perfil, the Supreme Court of Justice of Argentina upheld the fines the journalists had to pay, according to the news agency AFP. The Inter American Human Rights Commission said that sentence against the journalists was a "disproportionate restriction of the right to freedom of thought and expression of the victims."

Further, according to the Commission, Argentina did not comply with earlier recommendations in a Commission report about the case. The journalists took the case to the Inter American Court in 2001, arguing that the information about Menem was of public interest and that the fine the journalists were ordered to pay was a method of "intimidation and censorship." See the complete report here.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.