Colombia’s congress sank controversial legislation that granted government officials to press criminal charges against critics.
Ahead of the final vote on an anti-corruption bill, House Representative Cesar Loduy said he would revoke the rider that was deemed “decidedly backwards” by the leading press freedom foundation FLIP.
The article allowed government officials who press slander charges to request the incarceration of journalists and other critics before going to court.
The article was amended amid mounting pressure, but maintained repressive elements against anyone taken to court by a government official.
When the person who defames or slanders a public servant or former public servant is a legal representative or member of any community organization and uses it to commit the crime, the arraignment judge shall order the competent authority to proceed to the suspension or cancellation of the legal entity of the community organization to which it belongs, upon the request of the prosecutor or the victim and in compliance with the legal requirements established for this.
Proposed article 221A of Colombia’s criminal code
Loduy of the Radical Change coalition party removed the article ahead of the final vote, claiming that “I would never attack the freedom of the press.”