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Tamaulipas State Electoral Council orders media to "abstain from defaming" candidates, parties during local elections

(CEPET/IFEX) - The Tamaulipas State Electoral Council issued a ruling ordering media to abstain from disseminating campaign publicity that defames or slanders candidates, political parties and institutions, or that incites violence, during the elections for local mayors and state legislative representatives scheduled for 11 November 2007. The Council's decision is in itself a form of prior censorship, despite the fact that it also referred to freedom of expression as a fundamental right.

The decision apparently covers all the political parties, candidates, leaders and media, and was made after the Council had received complaints concerning the alleged dissemination by print and electronic media of information "involving diatribes, calumny, slander, defamation and denigrating comments damaging to the candidates and political parties as well as to the institutions" to which they aspired to be elected.

The Council added that the national Electoral Tribunal of the Judiciary (Sala Superior del Tribunal Electoral del Poder Judicial de la Federación) had repeatedly reaffirmed the importance of protecting and guaranteeing the fundamental right to freedom of expression, "without limits other than the obligation to respect the private lives of the candidates, authorities, third parties and to respect democratic institutions and values, as stipulated in article 7 of the Constitution, and that election advertising disseminated during a campaign through radio or television must be in accordance with article 6 of the same Constitution."

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