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New penal system regulates role of media

Cancun, Q.R. – A new penal system will set standards for the regulation and role of the media.

The new standards are part of the adversarial criminal justice system that says media should ensure the rights of people with the presumption of innocence as well as reserve their rights for privacy, especially for those under judicial investigation so they do not become the target of lawsuits.

Judge of Control, Court of the First Judicial District Merida Luis Edwin Mugarte Guerrero, said that it is important to respect those involved in an investigation. Police and ministerial actions must conform to the rules that ensure dignity and respect of anyone accused of a crime. This includes not disclosing their private information in media reports.

The new standards also include the restriction of press access to crime scenes. Mugarte Guerrero explains, “Police will restrict media access to the scene of a crime determined on the basis of the same protection for unsolicited reporters to avoid them contaminating a scene that could influence the outcome of a defense.”

However, despite these restrictions, the new system still allows reporters and general media to attend public hearings to take audio, video and photos. It also allows the material acquired by the media to be admitted into a court case at the request of a judge.

Mugarte Guerrero says, “The National Code does not establish penalties for media and journalists but a victim can make a claim if they believe they have endured pain and suffering due to poor reporting practices. For example, if a media outlet implies a person is a rapist then their case is acquitted, the person can argue they have been defamed.”

The new standards of the oral adversarial criminal justice system is expected to be fully in place in the state of Quintana Roo by June 2016.

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