“It is essential that the State provides real and effective mechanisms to protect the physical and psychological integrity of journalists and communications workers,” said Congresswoman Nathalie Castillo, promoter of the initiative.
Last Monday, the Culture, Arts and Communications Committee of the Chamber of Deputies sent to the Chamber the bill that provides guarantees of safety and protection for journalists and communications workers.
Bulletin 14.964-24, which has completed its vote after beginning the legislative process on 11 June, will be voted on in general and in particular in the coming days for parliamentarians to dispatch or reject the motion. If the bill is approved by a majority in the Chamber, the initiative – the only one of its kind in the world – will land in the Senate.
The president of the Commission and author of the bill, the deputy for the Coquimbo region, Nathalie Castillo, pointed out the importance of making progress on this issue, due to the lack of protection for journalists and communicators in Latin America and Chile, with our country being the protagonist of the death of Francisca Sandoval, a photojournalist for Señal 3 de La Victoria, who was shot while covering the demonstrations of 1 May 2022.
“It is crucial that the state provides real and effective mechanisms to protect the physical and psychological integrity of journalists and communications workers. Today we have taken an important step towards enshrining the right to communicate, and we hope that the Chamber of Deputies will approve the bill across the board,” she said.
The Secretary General of Government, Camila Vallejo, stressed that “as a government we are very happy that this bill was approved in the House Committee on Culture and now passes to the Chamber of Deputies. This initiative responds to the need to have a legal body that provides security and recognition not only to journalists, but also to all communications workers, including community media workers. In this way, we are moving forward to continue strengthening freedom of expression and freedom of the press, but above all, to protect the right to inform.
Mauricio Weibel, journalist, promoter of the law and president of the Society of Correspondents in Latin America and the Caribbean (SOCOLAC), welcomed the news on Twitter.
“Today the Commission approved the Model Law for the Protection of Journalists under Human Rights Standards. Thanks to those who supported this advance,” he wrote.
Deputy Daniela Serrano, member of the Commission and signatory of the project, said that “for districts like ours, with communes like San José de Maipo, Pirque and Puente Alto, this project will protect social communicators who raise with great effort and work the issues that the mainstream media do not cover”.
The president of the Association of Journalists, Rocío Alorda, valued the indications made by the Executive and deputies. “The indications received and made by the government and the deputies were a tremendous success that allowed us to improve the project and provide greater guarantees to communicators. The Association of Journalists welcomes this initiative and we think it is tremendously valuable, so we hope for its support in the Chamber”.