When a natural or legal person is exposed to the media there is a risk that is always run: the information published or transmitted may not reflect the essence of the message, even false information may be disseminated that directly or indirectly affect the image, honor, dignity, reputation and credibility of someone or some institution or company. This risk is reduced when the social communicator understands the limits between the right of expression and the truth of what should be disseminated, for this in addition to the experience and ethical awareness must go hand in hand with the code of conduct of such an important profession.
When a situation occurs in which the journalist by omission has failed to verify the truth of the facts disclosed with all the sources, and affects the honor, private life, intimacy, image, confidentiality and reputation of a person or society, there are legal mechanisms that protect the right to protection of honor of whoever is affected in case of defamation and libel, as it is called the classification of this crime that is characterized by the use of words spoken or written through media platforms, whose information is false or not accurately verified. The damages caused by this action have an impact on the reputation, the economy of the person and can even cause personal problems such as stress and anguish.
Right of rectification in Venezuela
Article 12 of the Code of Ethics of the Venezuelan Journalist establishes that false information must be rectified spontaneously and immediately, as well as rumors and unconfirmed news must be clearly identified as such. Likewise, it points out that the social communicator may not, at any time, evade compliance with Article 9 of the Law on the Practice of Journalism, which states that any misrepresentation of information must be rectified in a timely and efficient manner. Therefore, the professional will be obliged to rectify, as well as the media or company must allow for such action and the clarification that the affected party wishes to make. It is important that the rectification has the same scope and impact as the disclosure that originated it.
The rectification procedure must comply with the provisions of Article 14 of the aforementioned Law.The company is required to carry out these actions within 48 hours following the request of the affected party, under the same conditions and in the same media that disseminated the information.
Legally, the injured party, his heirs (in the event of death) or his representative may request the journalist and the media outlet to rectify the information that, in their opinion, has affected their honor, dignity and image. In the case of any election candidate, the power of complaint operates in the same way, since he/she may demand the disclosure of a note rectifying the news considered false or inaccurate. The rectification note will be disclosed by the same media.
Claiming this right ensures the lawful processing of information and the accuracy of all information. disseminated through the media. It may even be requested when the personal data of persons subjected to media exposure are inaccurate or incomplete.
This right in the case of Spain
It is an independent and personal rightThe right of reply cannot be exercised by another person to whom the affected party has not delegated this function. The interested party must provide the necessary information to the journalist and the media, to exercise the right to reply with truthful data. In the event that the professional or the media refuses to grant this right, financial penalties may be imposed. In Spain, non-compliance by Public Administrations could result in an administrative fine of 20 million euros or an amount equivalent to a maximum of 4% of the total annual turnover.
The person responsible for the right of reply shall inform the affected party about the fulfillment of its execution once it is disseminated in the media platform.
At Alan Aldana & Abogados, we have always recommended to our represented clients exercise the right of rectification before going to court against a media professional. With which our clients have been satisfied by virtue of a high percentage of immediate mitigation of the damage suffered. This occurs when journalists rectify their mistakes; communicators who subsequently, in addition to gaining access to the source directly, have improved their credibility with the audience and consequently are not considered as promoters of the so-called "fake news".