Panama's Electoral Tribunal orders journalist, two digital news sites to suspend publications about presidential candidate

"The National Directorate of Electoral Organization of the Electoral Tribunal [TE, by its Spanish acronym] [of Panama] ordered journalist Álvaro Alvarado and the digital news outlets Foco and Claramente to suspend the publications in social media of images or videos of Ricardo Martinelli, presidential candidate of the Realizando Metas party. The TE's decision arises in response to two complaints filed on Sept. 15 by Martinelli, in which he alleges to be the victim of a 'dirty campaign,' which seeks to attack and disqualify him, 'with the purpose of affecting him in the intention to vote polls.'


The TE informed that Alvarado and the representatives of Foco and Claramente must go to the TE's premises to present their arguments. However, [the national director of TE's Electoral Organization Osman] Valdés ordered several measures effective immediately: he asked the TE's Center of Study and Digital Monitoring to verify any social media account or profile that is sharing content of Alvarado, Foco or Claramente. The purpose of that was not specified.

In addition, that same Center should place a 'warning' on Alvarado's Twitter and Instagram accounts, as well as those of Foco and Claramente. Valdés also instructed the TE's Communication Direction to 'monitor' the 'traditional' media, and if it finds 'the content of the present complaint, the corresponding report must be sent to us.'"

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