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Mexico: Decriminalization of Defamation, Libel, and Slander

(Dec. 20, 2011) With 81 votes in favor, zero against, and no abstentions, the Mexican Senate in plenary session approved the repeal of articles 1 and 31 of the Law of Crimes of the Press, thereby decriminalizing defamation, libel, and slander under that Law. The bill was sent to the Federal Executive for immediate official publication.

The reform guarantees full protection to freedom of expression, because the Law has been harmonized with the Federal Penal and Civil Codes in order to keep the exercise of this right free from the threat of criminal sanctions.

The Senate also commented that violations of a person's private life “may be penalized with an indemnification for damages based on articles 1916 and 1916 BIS of the Federal Civil Code and not with the sanction of prison as it is punished today.” (Horacio Jiménez & Ricardo Gómez, Senado Despanalia Difamación e Injuria, EL UNIVERSAL (Nov. 30, 2011).)