The Collective Rights Commission of the Assembly prepares, for this week, the analysis of the draft Law of Reforms to the Law of Communication that was presented ten days ago by the central Government. The project, which proposes the elimination of the Superintendence of Communication, has been analyzed by various sectors, which already raise their observations.
The Corporación Participación Ciudadana, directed by Ruth Hidalgo, assures that there are still seven outstanding issues to be included in the reform of the Communication Law. Among others, it indicates the access to the publicity rates, that the process of election of the president of the Regulation Council is changed; that the use of state spaces be regulated, that rules be included regarding the sale of the seized media and the restriction for their use while they are administered by the State; that advertising cannot be contracted without indicating the authorship of the contracting party; and the personal prohibition of authority in the dissemination of works.
The jurist Santiago Guarderas Izquierdo makes observations on 80 articles, two general provisions and two transitory provisions. Next, ten of them.
- With the elimination of the words “in the administrative sphere” in article 1, the scope of application of the law extends to civil, criminal, administrative, constitutional, etc.
- Art. 6 of the law that defines in a totally imprecise way the information of public relevance or of general interest and that, in addition, is qualified by the State.
- Article 17, which limitedly defined the right to freedom of expression and opinion to reproduce, in almost its entirety, Article 14 of the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights (Pact of San José, on “freedom of thought or expression”.
- The joint and several liability of the social communication media is eliminated and it is determined that it will be civilly liable for the compensation and compensation that would be incurred due to the breach of the obligations to carry out the rectifications or retorts or the effects on the rights human beings, the reputation, honor and good name of those affected, natural or legal personnel who can be charged with the affectation of those rights, prior to due process.
- It is determined that, in the event that the required means of communication does not comply with the requested rectification, the affected person may go to the Ombudsman’s Office, so that, in use of its powers, it may immediately grant protection and restitution measures of right, activate the sponsorship in constitutional actions or request the judgment. But nothing is said as to what would be the consequence of the media, for reasons that, in their opinion -which may be valid-, it is not appropriate to do so, do not agree with the rectification and so declare it to the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman has no competence to resolve conflicts.
- New powers are established for the Council for Regulation, Development and Promotion of Information and Communication. Guarderas says that it is only expected that these will not lead to a new self-control.
- For the determination of possible discriminatory, violent or sexually explicit content, the persons or organizations of the company may request the Regulation Board to issue the content technical report. It is determined that such report does not have the character of binding but that “if requested by a public authority, it should be assessed at the moment of issuing the decision for a specific case. Valuation is confused with linkage.
- The decision of public media is required in the sense that they are legal persons of public law and fulfill a public and social function. It is clarified that they are classified in institutional media and in the public’s media. The latter are guaranteed editorial autonomy.
- The definition of private media is improved to those who are conceptualized as “natural or legal persons of private law with profit purpose, whose objective is the provision of commercial services of disclosure and exchange of contents, of their own creation or provided by third parties, through various communication technology platforms.
- It is up to the print media to determine the space in which they will specify the total number of copies put into circulation; and the sanction is eliminated in case of false or inaccurate figures. (I)