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A Victory for Public Health Information Campaigns in Colombia

A new case study highlights a legal victory in Colombia that can serve as a model for other countries facing threats to public health and free expression.

In 2017, Colombia’s Constitutional Court ruled that civil society organizations have the right to share public health information, and consumers have the right to see it. This public health victory followed a legal campaign by civil society against food and beverage industry efforts to influence the media and government to keep the information hidden.

Before the Constitutional Court decision, the industry had succeeded in blocking public service announcements about healthy food policy from being viewed on television and online. Educar Consumidores and Dejusticia, two Colombian civil society organizations, supported by other local organizations and the Global Health Incubator, used legal strategies and media advocacy to push back.

The lessons learned include:

  • Advocates should prepare for industry to oppose public health campaigns that threaten their revenues.
  • Legal analysis and technical assistance are critical tools for ensuring that the rights to health and free expression are protected.
  • Coalitions, particularly those that feature partners with diverse strengths and constituents, can be critical to success.
  • Legal strategies should include a strategic communications plan that incorporates on-the-ground media outreach.

Read the full case study: “A Victory for Public Health Information Campaigns in Colombia: The Role of Legal Strategies in Health Promotion.”