Spanish version

Government says it will not support any law restricting freedom of expression

Temas:

The government of Juan Carlos Varela is in disagreement with "any rule that restricts the freedoms of expression and information," according to a statement from the Secretary of State Communication.

"The government has no interest in reviving legal instruments which are used to censor and stifle the freedoms of the Panamanians," said Minister of the Presidency Álvaro Alemán. 

Last week, Panameñista Deputy Juan Bautista Moya, with the support of the National College of Journalists (Conape) and the Journalists Union of Panama, presented a draft which regulates the professional careers of journalists and photojournalists.

The proposal limits, for example, the time foreign journalists can work in Panama to two years. It also punishes the 'illegal' exercise of journalism with penalties of up to five years in prison.

Luis Blanco, president of the Foreign Press Correspondents Association (Acopep), warned that the draft violates the constitution and the American Convention on Human Rights.

Conape President Blanca Gomez acknowledged that the proposal has several issues which need to be corrected.  

Alemán said that the administration will not support any law that does not expand press freedom.

Moya said he has not discussed the issue with the presidency, and said he supports the freedoms of expression and opinion.

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