By Sam Naik
The President of the Justice Commission of the Chamber of Deputies of the Dominican Republic, Demostenes Martínez, announced yesterday that prison sentences for defamation and slander have been removed from the Penal Code reform, currently being reviewed in the legislature, said news website dr1.
Martínez said he considered prison terms for the offenses unconstitutional, and said the new code recommends only fines for anyone convicted of either crime, according to dr1.
The Dominican College of Journalists (CDP) said the decision to remove prison terms for the offenses was “very positive” and the organization’s president, Aurelio Henríquez, thanked the Justice Commission for listening to recommendations from the CDP and other media organizations and newspapers, who had asked for the removal of prison sentences, said the website NoticiasSIN.
However, Henríquez also said he still hopes that the Constitutional Tribunal will find the sections of the current Penal Code that recommend prison terms for defamation unconstitutional, according to NoticiasSIN. The directors of three national newspapers – Listín Diario, El Día, and El Caribe – asked the Tribunal to rule on the constitutionality of measures last week.
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.