Mexico's Supreme Court ruled yesterday (Thursday) that spreading rumors through social networks that create a public disturbance is not a crime. This comes after a challenge that was presented in the case of two men, who were both prosecuted in the eastern state of Veracruz, Mexico, in 2011.
Back in August of 2011, these two men were charged with terrorism and sabotage for spreading false rumors in social networks that drug traffickers were attacking public schools in Veracruz, which caused panic among parents in that state.
By a large majority the judges of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation (SCJN), ruled that Article 373 of the Penal Code of Veracruz "violates constitutional rights on freedom of speech, the right to information, and accurate criminal law enforcement."
Pressures from organizations such as Amnesty International were able to change the charges to "disturbing public order", which reduced both of these men’s prison sentence of 30 years to four years and the right to post bail.
However, the state government amended Article 373 of its Penal Code to punish up to four years in prison, specifically to those who promote false rumors in social media, about the existence of attacks with explosive devices, firearms, chemicals, biological weapons or toxic chemicals.