IAPA report documents “troubling developments” in regards to freedom of expression

Expression

The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) issued a six month report on the situation for the freedom of expression in Panama. IAPA identified several issues of concern, proposed legislation that could potentially restrict freedom of expression. The report also documented one case in which a reporters were prevented from conducting their work, as well as a situation where a political party leader accused the media of biased reporting on party-led protests. 

As reported in the last Monitor update on Panama, a member of congress, Noriel Salerno, presented a new draft law requiring private media outlets to publish one educational, cultural or electoral message for every five advertisements. However, in May 2017, the National Assembly rejected the proposed legislation. Panama's Transport and Communications Commission hailed the Assembly's decision as “a victory for freedom of expression” and emphasised that the legislature has always been respectful of the media. 

Peaceful Assembly 

Housing rights activists and communities affected by forced evictions have organised a series of protests over the police use of excessive force when evicting people from their homes. There have been no reports of the demonstrations on housing rights being prevented or disrupted by the authorities.