The Association of Criminal Lawyers of Uruguay assured that “it is so inadmissible that a prosecutor” request a search of a media outlet and the address of a journalist as if a guarantee judge “granted it”.
In a statement, the union assured that it is a “serious measure detrimental to freedom of the press and the secrecy of the source”, in reference to that decision of the prosecutor who investigates the dissemination of audios with sexual content by the journalist Ignacio Álvarez without the consent of those involved, something that is contemplated in the gender law.
Communiqué from the Association of Criminal Lawyers of Uruguay in relation to the notorious facts related to the search of a media outlet and the home of a journalist. pic.twitter.com/iVcHhtDBG6
— Association of Criminal Lawyers of Uruguay (@A_A_P_U) February 8, 2022
Lawyers ensure that journalistic activity, and the protection of professional secrecy, “has constitutional, conventional and legal protection” and that it cannot be violated with measures like these, since it represents “a serious violation of essential rights in any democratic State”.
They also assure that the exercise of freedom of the press is a case exempt from punishment because their acts are “legitimized by the profession they perform.” That, they add, prevents them from being criminally prosecuted.
“We understand that in order to overcome many of these interpretative or normative problems, it is essential to improve the procedural legislation since today it is interpreted mainly by criminal operators (Judges and Prosecutors) in a way that prevents the analysis of the evidence by the Judges who must be guarantors of the rights of all those involved in the process, in substantive stages of the process, leading to situations of injustice that can happen to anyone,” he said.
This Monday, the Uruguayan Press Association (APU) met with the court prosecutor, Juan Gómez, in which he was asked to “review” that request for the search and seizure of Ignacio Álvarez’s devices. After a conference it was concluded that this measure was dismissed.