Legal appeal filed to lift suspension of Chilean TV journalist

By Liliana Honorato

A legal appeal for protection in support of the Chilean journalist that was suspended for satirizing a tribute to former dictator Augusto Pinochet, on the TV channel Chilevisión on June 8, was presented by the Association of Relatives of Disappeared Detainees with the support of Congressman and lawyer of the Communist Party of Chile, Hugo Gutiérrez, reported the news agency Puranoticia.

The appeal is aimed at respecting the right of freedom of expression for journalist Víctor Gómez, so that he may continue his work as a sports analyst, reported the newspaper La Nación. In legal terms, the appeal seeks for the court to order an injunction that would nullify the sanctions against the journalist, added the newspaper La Segunda.

"We will wait for the smell of sulfur (smell of hell) to dissipate a little from the studio,” was the comment made by the journalist that caused the TV station to give him a verbal and written warning, in addition to his suspension, freezing his position as a sports commentator, a job which he has held since 2002, reported the digital newspaper El Mostrador.

Chilevisión's actions caused many people from different social and human rights organizations to protest in front of the TV station's headquarters on June 22 rejecting the censorship of the journalist, reported the Journalists Union of Chile. “The right to freedom of expression belongs to all citizens, also to those who practice journalism," said the national president of the union, Marcelo Castillo.

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.