Panama's bill to regulate media sparks IAPA concern

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  • February 5, 2010

By Ingrid Bachmann

In response to the recent debate over TV content, several members of Parliament have proposed measures to censor and regulate media. The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) has expressed concern about possible governmental interference in the media's editorial decisions.

Deputies from both the ruling party and the opposition proposed last week to reactivate the so-called Censorship Board—a remnant of military rule—to regulate private media. That proposal outraged the press, Hora Cero explains. The uproar prompted the deputy president of the National Assembly to clarify that the promotion of such bodies is not part of the government's agenda, Crítica adds.

After the nation's leading TV channels agreed to reactivate a plan to self-regulate content, a deputy of the governing party called for the measure to be extended to radio and TV broadcasters. IAPA says such an initiative represents "government interference and encroachment" on editorial independence.

“We are not opposed to the application and promotion of ethical values in the work of the press, in fact we promote them. What we cannot accept is that they be imposed by the government or by any other entity outside the press,” IAPA President Alejandro Aguirre says.

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.