Press groups condemn court's decision to uphold sentence against Panamanian journalists

Panamanian press organizations joined the Inter American Press Association in decrying a sentence upheld against two journalists and a newspaper, calling it an attack on freedom of expression, according to the news agency EFE and the newspaper La Estrella.

On Wednesday, Sept. 12, the First Court of Justice upheld the decision from a 2009 case where a judge sued journalists Jean Marce Chéry and Gustavo Aparicio and the newspaper Panamá América for $20,000 in moral damages plus $5,000 in legal fees, according to EFE.

The journalists published a 2001 investigation claiming that the construction of a new public highway would benefit the farm of Judge Winston Spadafora, who was the minister of government and justice in the Mireya Moscoso administration at the time.

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.