On September 25, Senate President Roy Barreras sharply attacked the magazine A WEEKafter posting your cover health panic. Barreras said the magazine’s cover was “perverse” and generated social and economic panic. He further suggested that it might be a crime.
“@Weekly magazine You can give your opinion what you want, even media harassment against an honest professional like @carolinacorcho, but a perverted cover to generate social and economic panic can be a crime (Article 302 cp). Welcome debate, but technical, not populist,” he pointed out in his account.
After the controversy, journalist Juanita Gomez explained why Roy’s criticism was an attack on journalistic practice and could not be ignored.
“It’s not a perception, it’s not an impression, the criticism made by Roy Barreras, the president of the Senate, about the cover of the magazine A WEEK‘Health panics’ are an assault on the journalistic exercise,” he said.
He also remembered Flip pulling the senator’s ear. Gómez reiterated that public officials have restrictions on the exercise of freedom of expression, as indicated by the Constitutional Court. “That’s why when they use social networks, the responsibility with which they have to express their opinion is much greater, precisely because of the impact they can generate on people,” he said.
“When Roy Barreras says that this content is a crime and provides no evidence, what he does first is delegitimize the journalistic exercise and all the journalists who work here, putting themselves at risk.” He added that according to Flip, officials cannot promote misinformation or intolerance in their statements.
“In this case, moreover, we are talking about an article that has more than 10 sources consulted, to the extent that now the senator himself is holding meetings with experts from different sectors, with members of medical associations, to try to reach a consensus about putting under a matter of health reform”, he argued.
Flip’s scolding of Barreras and his apologies
The Flip justified its rebuke of the senator with the fact that public officials must exercise freedom of expression in a limited manner.
“The right to freedom of expression, when exercised by public officials in the performance of their duties, It has greater limitations than it does when exercised by an individual.” says the Constitutional Court, quoted by Flip.
Although civil servants do not lose their right to express their opinions, “a degree of caution and care is required in their actions”
“Given the above, officials should stay away from debates and discussions about the quality of information and editorial decisions. They need to be raised between the academy, the journalists’ union and civil society,” explains Flip.
Faced with the apologies presented by the senator, Flip asked him to make his apologies “more specific” and that they be accompanied by actions that “encourage tolerance against the pluralistic exercise of journalism.”
“We invite you, Senator Roy Barreras, to refrain from comments that may be considered stigmatizing or that affect the work of the press”Flip concluded.
Faced with the organization’s invitation, Barreras replied that they could count on their “tolerance”.
“Dear Flip, rely not only on my tolerance for the plural, but also against stigmatization and slander. Even more so with what has always been my conviction: the protection of press freedom as a fundamental pillar of liberal democracy,” Barreras responded on Twitter.