the Chilean courts should have applied the provisions of Principle 10 of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression of the IACHR. 6 13. The petitioner alleges that the criminal punishment against Mr. Carlos Baraona Bray has the effect of imposing self-censorship on a subject that was widely discussed by Chilean society and the subject of investigations by the judicial and legislative branches. The petitioner adds that since the conviction of the alleged victim, there have been no more public accusations involving politicians or public figures in the unlawful cutting of the alerce tree. In addition, the petitioner maintains that while Mr. Baraona Bray benefited from the conditional suspension of his prison sentence, the decision “left an official record that a potentially injurious statement was made against Mr. Páez, […] in addition to leaving a stain on Mr. Baraona’s résumé by establishing that he was convicted of a crime.”7 14. The petitioner states that the decision of June 22, 2004, issued by the Puerto Montt Court of Guarantee stated that “greater seriousness was required of Mr. Baraona Bray in his assertions in that he was a person considered credible by the community and was uninformed on the subject,” that “the damage that his statements could inflict on the honor of the affected individual was greater.” and that “the statements of the defendant cannot be considered to be enveloped in the seriousness and gravity required for his right to report to take precedence over the honor of the complainant.”8 The petitioner states that these considerations impose on the alleged victim the burden of a duty to verify information beyond that applicable to someone else without the same level of credibility. 15. In this regard, the following abstract from the decision of the Puerto Montt Court of Guarantee is to be noted: Based on all that has been indicated heretofore, it can be concluded that Mr. Baraona Bray accused Mr. Sergio Páez Verdugo of a lack of morality consisting of pressure exerted on public officials for the settlement of property titles and the illegal felling of alerce trees due to electoral promises, without having background that would indicate this, but on the contrary, he knew or should have known that Senator Sergio Páez was not named in the file of the Los Muermos Court as favoring those who illegally cut alerce on the referenced property. On the contrary, if there was any type of pressure it was on behalf of the owner who wanted to stop the illegal felling of alerce. That being the case, it appears disproportionate to this court to sacrifice someone’s right to honor to another’s freedom of expression when the assertions do not have the support claimed, as they are mere conjectures or rumors that are not presented as such but rather as the truth.9” 16. The petitioner indicates that in the same decision the Puerto Montt Court maintained that since Mr. Baraona Bray was an attorney and complainant in a judicial case regarding the alleged unlawful cutting of alerce, he should be required to demonstrate “greater seriousness” in his assertions. In this respect, the petitioner alleges that this reasoning imposes on Mr. Baraona Bray a greater degree of diligence as compared to the That principle establishes that “Privacy laws should not inhibit or restrict investigation and dissemination of information of public interest. The protection of a person’s reputation should only be guaranteed through civil sanctions in those cases in which the person offended is a public official, a public person or a private person who has voluntarily become involved in matters of public interest. In addition, in these cases, it must be proven that in disseminating the news, the social communicator had the specific intent to inflict harm, was fully aware that false news was disseminated, or acted with gross negligence in efforts to determine the truth or falsity of such news.” 7 Petition sent to the IACHR on March 4, 2005, page 12. 8 Decision of the Court of Guarantee of Puerto Montt, Tax ID No. 0410008047-3, page 36. 9 Decision of the Court of Guarantee of Puerto Montt, Tax ID No. 0410008047-3, pages 40-41. 6 3

Select target paragraph3