“Article 9 of the 2010 decree determines that those who practice journalism can use any source of information but must seek balance, which means impartiality and veracity. It is necessary that such information be checked by an official source, especially given that we are dealings with a matter of public policy,” a ministry press release reads.
The CPB said the decree – which prohibits media by law from reporting on electoral irregularities during this Sunday’s presidential elections, without prior confirmation of the news by an official government source – “pre-establishes censorship and eliminates freedom of expression which is guaranteed in the Colombian constitution.”
The decree, passed last Monday, also prohibits news sites from publishing information gathered from Colombian citizens using social networking websites like Twitter and Facebook unless the news has first been mediated by an official entity.
According to the ministry, the measures have been put in place “for the preservation of public order during the presidential election.”
The decree has been strongly criticized by Twitter users, who, like the CPB, say that it is an infringement of rights to freedom of speech and represents media censorship by the state.