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MLRC Miami Conference 2020

On March 9, MLRC held its annual conference on Legal Issues Concerning Hispanic & Latin American Media, hosted by the University of Miami School of Communication. This is MLRC's smallest conference - but certainly one of the most interesting and inspiring ones. This year's conference demonstrated that once again.

The conference began with a Skype call with Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept, from his home in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We had a Q&A with Greenwald about the basis and status of charges brought against him in Brazil for his work in reporting on the Operation Car Wash scandal (Operação Lava Jato) – the largest public corruption scandal in Brazil's history.

The Intercept had published leaked chat logs of government prosecutors. In retaliation, Greenwald was charged in January 2020 with cybercrimes for allegedly collaborating in the hacking of the information. As Greenwald explained then and on our call: "I did nothing more than do my job as a journalist - ethically and within the law." He explained that in early February a court blocked the prosecution, relying on a previous Brazilian Supreme Court ruling that The Intercept's reporting on Operation Car Wash was legal. But that ruling could be revisited and the potential for prosecution remains a troubling possibility.

The conference also featured a Q&A with Miami Herald / el Nuevo Herald reporter Antonio Delgado who discussed the situation in Venezuela, putting the current humanitarian crisis in political and historical context. Among other things, Delgado and MLRC Deputy Director Dave Heller discussed the fate of so-called "Caminantes" – Venezuelans who risk their lives to walk hundreds of miles to safety in Colombia, as part of the mass migration out of the country. Delgado also discussed his investigative article "Pillaging El Dorado" – exposing the use of criminal gangs to extract gold to finance the Maduro regime.

A panel titled "Using Defamation Law as a Sword Against the Media," had Diana Palacios, Davis Wright Tremaine (Los Angeles) questioning Adrianna Rodriguez, Univision (Miami) and Roxana Kahale, (Buenos Aires), about comparative experiences in defending against defamation and related claims. A panel on Cross-Border Copyright featured Tatiana Carrillo, Lloredo Camacho, (Bogota, Colombia), and James Sammataro, Pryor Cashman (Miami), discussing practical issues on protecting content in entertainment and news.

To top it off, the conference included an Ethics session led by Diana Jordan Zamora, Business Law Faculty, University of Miami Herbert Business School, on the legal and journalistic ethics when media companies report on their owners.

The conference was generously supported by Ballard Spahr, Davis Wright Tremaine, Greenberg Traurig, and McClatchy / Miami Herald / el Nuevo Herald.

 
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