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Peru

Key Developments

» Journalists covering corruption, protests are targeted.

» Critical journalists hit with defamation suits.

The climate of press freedom in Peru remained much the same as 2012, with reporters being targeted with violence and defamation suits for reporting on local corruption. While no journalists were imprisoned, two were convicted on criminal defamation charges and received suspended prison sentences. A bill that eliminated jail terms for defamation has remained stalled in Congress since mid-2011. Journalists covering widespread protests of a mining project in northern Peru were targeted with violence and intimidation by all sides in the conflict. Journalists and news outlets reporting on corruption and organized crime were also targeted in non-fatal attacks. One journalist was killed in unclear circumstances. CPJ continues to investigate whether the murder was work-related. Past murders of journalists remained unsolved, and prosecutors appealed the acquittal last year of the former mayor of the city of Coronel Portillo in the 2004 murder of radio journalist Alberto Rivera Fernandez. Human rights groups and journalists raised concerns about the implications of a bill that would criminalize the denial of terrorist crimes, a cybercrime law that criminalized some Internet speech, and the move by the country's leading daily to buy a media company that resulted in its owning 78 percent of the newspaper market.



  • 2

    Journalists convicted of defamation
  • 4

    Attacks during protests
  • 8

    Journalists killed since 1992
  • 4

    Anti-press attacks
 

Newspaper editors Alcides Peñaranda Oropeza and Humberto Espinoza Maguiña were convicted in separate cases on charges of criminally defaming Cesar Álvarez Aguilar, governor of the northern Ancash region. The journalists had written stories that alleged corruption in Álvarez's government. The governor denied all allegations.

Álvarez has a history of filing defamation suits against journalists who have accused his government of corruption.


Breakdown of the lawsuits:

2

Convictions on defamation charges handed down to Espinoza in two consecutive days

2-year

Suspended prison sentence given to Peñaranda and Espinoza

US$2,000

Damages that Espinoza is ordered to pay

US$3,662

Damages that Peñaranda is ordered to pay

3

Additional journalists sued by Álvarez in continuing defamation cases, according to the regional press group Instituto Prensa y Sociedad.
 

The regional press group Instituto Prensa y Sociedad documented four anti-press attacks and cases of harassment of the press in connection with intense and long-term local protests against the building of a mine in northern Peru. The demonstrations were dispersed by special police units.

Journalists and news outlets covering the protests were targeted by people on both sides of the conflict, IPYS reported.


Breakdown of attacks:

1

Journalist said he was attacked by the police and private security employed by the mining company.

3.5

Hours a journalist was held captive by protesters. They also beat him and confiscated his photographic equipment until he agreed to delete all photos.

30

Protesters threatened to expel a local radio station owner from the town if he did not stop airing broadcasts in favor of the mining project.
 

Eight journalists have been killed in Peru since 1992 in direct retaliation for their work, according to CPJ research. In 2013, Luis Choy, photographer for the leading Peruvian daily El Comercio, was shot dead outside his home in Lima under unclear circumstances. CPJ continues to investigate.


Journalists killed in relation to their work:

63

percent worked in radio

75

percent threatened beforehand

50

percent government officials suspected source of fire

75

percent complete impunity
 

One radio station and three journalists were attacked by unidentified assailants in separate attacks, according to news reports. The outlet and the journalists had reported on local corruption and organized crime before the attacks.


Breakdown of attacks:

1

explosive device

1

beating with gun and wrench

2

shootings



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