The following editorial appeared this week in the Miami Herald:
Journalists, watch out: You may get into real trouble with the law in Panama if you insult animals or plants.
We're not kidding. Article 199 of a proposed new Criminal Code recently submitted to Panama's President Ernesto Perez Balladares calls for terms of up to two years in prison or the equivalent in fines for ``anyone who spreads false news or rumors about diseases of people, animals or plants.''
Government officials say the proposed legislation is aimed at preventing news about ailments or epidemics that could hurt the economy, but critics say it could be applied to any news …