Responding to critics, Colombia promises new anti-leak bill won’t affect media

In response to criticism from journalists and media outlets, the Colombian government said a proposed law that punishes officials who leak confidential information will not affect the media and that journalism issues have their own jurisdiction, El Tiempo reports.

The new law is meant to regulate intelligence activities, in the wake of the wiretapping scandal, in which Colombian intelligence agency (DAS) officials in the government of former President Álvaro Uribe (2002-2010) illegally monitored phone calls and emails by judges, journalists, opposition politicians, and human rights activists.

No journalist or media outlet will be subject to investigation, they are doing their work, protected by the Constitution, so they will not be punished much less investigated,” said Minister of Defense Rodrigo Rivera, quoted by RCN Radio.

Journalists are concerned that the law could effectively censor the press, but the government has promised to amend the bill to leave no doubt that journalists are protected, Caracol Radio explains.

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» Semana.com (The Intelligence Law: Truths under 55 years of secrecy)

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.