A bill that proposes to make it a crime to offend the President ?

President of National Assembly Muñoz Supports Initiative That Would Make It A Crime To Criticize The President of Panama

Thursday, January 06 2011 @ 10:31 AM EST
Contributed by: Don Winner
Views: 97
“The figure of the president must be respected,” said the President of the National Assembly, José Muñoz, when justifying a draft of a bill that proposes to make it a crime to offend the President. Last night National Assembly Deputy Agustin Sellhorn presented an initiative (bill) to the Panamanian National Assembly which states that anyone who offends the head of the Executive Branch or other elected officials could face jail terms of two to four years. The draft was endorsed by the President of the National Assembly, who said he would push for the measure with full vigor. “It will be discussed, we will take it to a public debate, and we will invite representatives from all sectors (…) to have legislation in this regard, ” he said by telephone. Muñoz mentioned the words of former National Assembly Deputy Pedro Miguel Gonzalez, who – according to Muñoz – called President Ricardo Martinelli a thief. The advocate of the measure argued that statements like these cannot be said without being sustained. (La Estrella)

José Muñoz – The President of Panama’s National Assembly

Editor’s Comment: Hoo boy, here we go. In my opinion this is a step in exactly the wrong direction. Ricardo Martinelli already has his hands wrapped around almost all of the the reins of power of this country – Executive, Legislative, Judicial, Public Ministry, Comptroller (budget and oversight) – the only thing he can’t control is the press. It makes no difference if Pedro Miguel Gonzalez (or anyone else) is in their bedroom saying all kinds of bad things about Ricardo Martinelli. The problem arises when that person expresses their views on the morning news broadcast. Martinelli has tried to rein in the press and that hasn’t worked. So now they are apparently going to change the law to make it a crime to say bad things about him. Yeesh. Does this mean they intend to file charges against Barbara Stephenson for calling him “childish” because apparently she was right on the money. Sticks and stones, dude, sticks and stones … This is a major, huge, tremendous mistake. Whoever came up with this idea is an idiot (and, I mean that in the nicest possible way…)

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