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2023 Human Rights Report findings show Government of Belize upholding principles of a free press

Posted: Monday, April 22, 2024. 2:48 pm CST.

By Zoila Palma Gonzalez: The 2023 Human Rights Report has highlighted commendable strides made by the Government of Belize in upholding the principles of a free press.

“The Constitution provided for freedom of expression, including for members of the press and other media, and the government generally respected this right. An independent press, an effective judiciary, and a functioning democratic political system combined to promote freedom of expression, including for media members,” the report cited.

However, it noted that although the press was largely independent of government influence, most radio stations, television stations, and newspapers had strong editorial ties to either the United Democratic Party (UDP) or the governing People’s United Party (PUP).

“The independent press was often critical of government officials, with few signs of repercussions,” it added.

In addition, the report showed that the Government of Belize “did not directly censor media outlets or penalize those who published items counter to government guidelines. Nevertheless, anecdotal accounts indicated some media outlets practiced self-censorship to appease certain politicians and powerful businesspersons who patronized the publications.”

The Government did not restrict or disrupt access to the internet or censor online content.

This acknowledgment underscores the importance of continued efforts to protect and promote press freedom as a cornerstone of human rights and democratic governance in Belize.

 

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