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IAPA surprised at libel suit filed by Florida politician

(IAPA/IFEX) - Miami, September 3, 2010 - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today expressed surprise at American politician Jeff Greene's suit filed against two Florida newspapers claiming their reports libeled him during the recent campaign for Democratic Party primary elections.

The libel suit cites "The Miami Herald", Miami, and "St. Petersburg Times", St. Petersburg for two reports concerning alleged wrongdoing in real estate transactions and on his private yacht.

Greene ran in recent primary elections to represent his party in the November elections for the federal Senate. He alleges that he was defeated in the primaries because of the newspapers' campaign to damage his reputation, by publishing information which they allegedly knew was false.

IAPA President Alejandro Aguirre stated, "This move by a former candidate is surprising because it is being carried out by someone who entered politics and should know the rules of the game - someone who should understand that during electoral campaigns the role of the press is to scrutinize in detail the candidates so that the voters have adequate information and can make their decisions."

Aguirre, editor of the Miami, Florida, Spanish-language newspaper "Diario Las Américas", added, "In cases like this what should always prevail is the right of people to be informed about matters of public interest and the duty of the media to report on public figures, guarantees enshrined in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. This doesn't mean that a citizen does not have the right to go to court when he feels that his reputation has been harmed."

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