Friday, August 8, 2014

Excuse Me, Dear Sinaloa Congress...You are Suppressing Freedom of the Press

"After weighing the arguments against the new law, we determined that a change was needed.,"said  state legislative leader Jesús Enrique Hernández Chávez. 'We saw the real possibility that the work of the professional news media could be negatively affected." Hernández Chávez acknowledged that the legislature did not look at the Ley Mordaza closely on the day it was approved because it was one of many pieces of legislation that came before the legislature before recess, and legislators did not have time to "notice those kinds of details."

Did Gov. Mario López Valdez manage to slip a piece of legislation by the Sinaloa Congress that would  prohibit  news organizations from recording videos or taking photographs at the scene of a crime or interviewing anyone directly associated with an incident? The legislature claims it was too busy passing several bills before recess to notice that the restrictive measure had been slipped into the legislative agenda. Did Gov. López Valdez and the legislators think that the media in Sinaloa would not react to the directive? There was a loud outcry from a coalition led by the Asociación de Periodistas de Sinaloa, A.C. and other organizations that promote freedom of expression, including the Mexican affiliate of Article 19. The controversy  forced the legislature to review its actions and then promise to rescind the measure during an upcoming special session.

And Gov. López Valdez? He claimed he made a mistake in pushing the initiative, and that it was not his intention to suppress free speech.  Read more about this issue in this week's edition of SourceMex.

Also in LADB This Week....

Energy Policy
Energy Policy was very much in the minds of  decision-makers in Mexico and Costa Rica. A key consideration in both countries was how to reduce the cost of electrical power, which could help promote economic growth. In Mexico, the Congress approved the secondary laws to implement energy reforms, which could bring greater investment into development of gas extraction and transportation.  A greater domestic supply of natural gas could reduce the cost of operation for power plants.  The Secretaría de Energía created a handy section on its Web site with specifics of the Energy Reform.

In Costa Rica, a member of the center-left  Frente Amplio (FA) is proposing that the Costa Rican government renew efforts to join the Petrocaribe initiative, which could provide the Central American country with lower-cost fuels via Venezuela.  Read more from George Rodríguez in NotiCen.  Here is the official Petrocaribe Web site..

Illegal Trafficking of Weapons
A photograph delivered to the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung’s newsroom showing a Colombian policeman pointing a "made in Germany" pistol recently sparked an investigative-journalism project. The investigation is now beginning to show that both Germany and the US are involved in the weapons trade. Germany’s laws explicitly prohibit exporting any weapons to countries 1) experiencing internal armed conflicts, 2) with security forces accused of "excessive" use of force in applying repressive measures (being trigger-happy or allowing extrajudicial executions), or 3) where recurrent human rights violations have been proven. Colombia has ranked first in all three criteria for more than 50 years.  So how are weapons from Germany making their way into Colombia?  Read more from Andrés Gaudín in NotiSur.

Staying Power
Many leaders come to office with high expectations, but at some point during their tenure in office their popularity is eroded because they have failed to meet expectations and/or/campaign promises. Sometimes the problem is that the unity that brought them to office has given way to inflighting within their coalitions. This is what is happening in Chile to President Michelle Bachelet, who took office in March 2014.  Read more from Benjamin Witte-Lebhar in NotiSur.

In Guatemala, President Otto Pérez Molina would like to extend his mandate beyond the end of his term in 2016.  The Guatemalan president has called for a constitutional reform that would allow him to stay in office an additional two years until 2018. The problem is that the the Guatemalan Constitution contains a number of articles that cannot be changed, known as artículos pétreos,which include those establishing a four-year period in office.  Read more from Louisa Reynolds in NotiCen.

-Carlos Navarro
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