Proposed Bill Seeks to Regulate Right to Reply and Establish Fines for Offenses Against Honor and Image
A proposed bill aims to institute fines for offenses or grievances related to a person’s honor, private life, and image, regardless of whether they are political or economic in nature. It also suggests implementing a legal procedure to uphold the right to reply, as enshrined in Article 49, numeral 4 of the Constitution. The bill’s author, Deputy Lourdes Aybar from the Fuerza del Pueblo party, hopes to regulate and guarantee the exercise of this right, given the frequency of injurious statements made on social media and other platforms.
The bill’s recitals stress the need to prevent those with access to the media from manipulating public opinion and individuals’ beliefs and honor for spurious reasons. Ordinary citizens may have difficulties accessing the media, but it is unfair for those who act maliciously to go unpunished. Article 3 of the bill specifies that anyone who feels offended or unfairly referred to in social communication channels has the right to clarification or rectification, which must be disseminated free of charge.
The bill also defines various terms, including news agency, right to reply, independent producer, obligated subject, and promoter. It allows anyone to exercise the right to reply to inaccurate or false information issued by any obligated subject specified in the law, causing injury. In case the affected natural person is unable to exercise this right, the spouse, cohabitant, cohabitant, or blood relatives in a direct ascending or descending line up to the second degree can do it on their behalf. The bill also grants legal entities, political parties, pre-candidates, and candidates for elected positions the right to reply.
Chapter III outlines the procedure for exercising the right of reply before obligated subjects, which must be initiated upon request from those affected. If a program format allows, rectification must be made during live transmissions. The request must contain various data, such as the requester’s name, address, and facts to be clarified. Obligated subjects must decide on the request’s merit within three business days, while the affected party must submit the information to be rectified within five business days from the publication or transmission.
Finally, the bill provides guidelines for publishing the reply, rectification, or response document in its entirety, without intercalations, on the same page with similar characteristics as the original information. However, obligated subjects can refuse to publish or transmit the reply in several cases, such as when it is offensive, contrary to the law, or lacks public interest.