The last two decades have seen radically important changes for the expression and diffusion of information and ideas in our region and in the world. In addition to the obvious scientific and technological changes, the last twenty years have been particularly remarkable in Latin America for the development and democratic strengthening that characterized this period in most countries, accompanied by a regulatory advance in the area of freedom of expression. It is worth highlighting the proliferation of laws on access to public information, the decriminalization of contempt in a good majority of the countries of the region, and the strengthening of the doctrine of public interest as a determining factor in the criminalization of libel and slander.
From 2013 onwards, however, with the increasing penetration of the internet, the spread of social networks and the transfer (to a greater or lesser extent according to the country) of public debate to the Internet orbit, they seem to return to the debate agenda issues that at the regional level had been settled. With this thesis in mind, from the Center for Studies on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information (CELE) we proposed the creation of a Regional Legislative Observatory on Freedom of Expression in order to clearly identify the status of legislation in the Americas and verify -as far as possible- what trends would seem to be anticipated for the future. The exercise proposes to systematize the norms and create a repository of laws and bills that allows unifying access to documents, that facilitates the development of comparative studies and that enables monitoring of regional trends.
This document describes the Observatory's methodology and summarizes some of the main conclusions at the regional level.