Spanish version

MEDIA

Grocery store bans magazine over cover

The decision has been criticized by press organizations.

Spanish version

Temas:

The National Journalists Association has criticized the decision by the Super 99 supermarket chain to remove copies of the magazine Portada from its stores due to the cover photo of former President Ricardo Martinelli, who also owns the chain, behind bars.

The photo relates to the numerous criminal investigations into the former president for alleged corruption and illegal surveillance.

"Far from a simple administrative decision in which a company assumes its right to accept or reject the sale of a product in its stores, this is a rejection of the freedom of press and expression in our country," said the association. 

Revista Portada. Foto tomada de internet. Expandir Imagen
Revista Portada. Foto tomada de internet.

The association also noted that Martinelli should be sensitive to such attacks on the press, as he owns interests in newspapers, radio stations and a television network.

"He should be aware that personal feelings may not go hand in hand with the selective application of the precepts that govern the freedom of press and expression," the association said.

Catalina Botero, a former specialist on press freedom issues with the Organization of American States, said that when an entity has the power to restrict the circulation of a publication, it affects the right of citizens to receive information.

"The distributors and intermediaries should not become the private censors of publications, because it affects fundamental rights. It's as if a cable company decided to censor episodes of a series because they are not of the taste of the manager, or if Google decided not to show information or links that criticizes its business," she said.

In June 2014, Super Carnes, owned by the Virzi family, who are close to the former president, terminated its business relationship with Corporación La Prensa and suspended the sale of the newspapers La Prensa and Mi Diario for alleged "irresponsible journalism."

Officials from both Super 99 and Super Carnes declined to comment.

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