Laws of Silence, Judicial Harassment to Freedom of Speech in Mexico and Colombia

Today, on World Press Freedom Day, FLIP and ARTÍCULO 19 México, unite to curb judicial harassment of journalists and human rights defenders. In the framework of this date, FLIP and ARTÍCULO 19 México, with support from the Justice for Journalists Foundation, presented the report: Laws of Silence, Judicial Harassment to Freedom of Speech in Mexico and Colombia.

Laws of Silence is a report that offers a parallel look at cases and conditions of judicial harassment in Mexico and Colombia. The authors discuss laws that facilitate judicial harassment in both countries, and the patterns of State behavior in the face of this form of aggression against the press.

They also feature cases of journalists and human rights defenders who have faced excessive and arbitrary judicial proceedings and explain the different damages suffered by victims of judicial harassment: Economic, labor, emotional, and even physical, because often, lawsuits come together with threats and attacks on the integrity of journalists.

Judicial harassment is not a new strategy of silencing. It has been used worldwide against social organizations, but there now seems to be a boom in the use of this mechanism against the press. Between 2018 and 2020, FLIP recorded 140cases of judicial harassment of journalists in Colombia.

“In 2020 and 2021 JFJ dedicated over USD 200k to support investigations into how the SLAPPs are being used against journalists and free speech.  We believe by supporting the anti-SLAPP efforts in countries we can help counter the abusive force of untransparent wealth and unaccountable power” said Maria Ordzhonikidze in her speech during the presentation of the report.

The report was originally published on the FLIP website.