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Attacks on the Press in 1998 - Peru

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date February 1999
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 1998 - Peru, February 1999, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/47c5657f23.html [accessed 30 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

As of December 31, 1998

Concerned about evidence of a systematic state-run campaign to discredit Peru's independent press, CPJ staff members traveled to Lima in June as part of an international delegation of press freedom organizations. Attacks on the press declined in the immediate aftermath of the visit – which included interviews with President Alberto K. Fujimori and other high officials – but increased again at year's end, as a series of scandals continued to damage the government's popularity.

Criminal gangs are responsible for a growing share of violence against journalists in Latin America, but in Peru there is clear evidence of government involvement in a campaign against the press that has included jailings, detentions, threats, and constant surveillance. In March, several tabloid newspapers in Lima began publishing pieces attacking prominent investigative journalists, accusing them of being communists, traitors, and "prophets of the devil." The articles stopped appearing after the press freedom delegation met with Fujimori, but resurfaced again in August on a website which journalists say was created by the intelligence services to discredit government opponents.

Independent journalists also experience cruder forms of intimidation. They allege that they are often followed, and that their phones are tapped. Government pressure has forced two television programs off the air – one temporarily and one permanently. There has also been sporadic violence. In August, the house of Hugo Guerra, an editor with the Lima daily El Comercio, was hit by gunfire.

Peru and Cuba are the only countries in the Americas where journalists are serving jail sentences for crimes relating to their work. Four journalists remain in jail on terrorism charges after being sentenced by hooded military judges in 1994 and 1996. A fifth was jailed in November after he read a communiqué from the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) on the air.

The fact that journalists can work at all under such difficult conditions owes a great deal to the efforts of the Instituto de Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS), a Lima-based press organization founded in 1993 that has systematically monitored abuses and pressured the authorities to respond. While most of the attention has been paid to journalists in Lima, in November IPYS established a 24-hour toll-free telephone number so that journalists in the provinces could report press freedom violations. IPYS was immediately deluged with dozens of complaints from provincial journalists about criminal defamation prosecutions, threats, and detentions.

Attacks on the Press in Peru in 1998

DateJournalistIncident
11/20/98Johnny Eduardo Pezo Tello, Doble AImprisoned
11/02/98La RepúblicaThreatened
11/02/98Gustavo Mohme Llona, La RepúblicaThreatened
10/26/98Cecilia ValenzuelaThreatened
08/21/98César Hildebrandt, Canal 13 Global TelevisiónLegal Action
08/18/98Isaac García Villanueva, Radio Siglo XXIThreatened, Harassed
08/04/98Jhonny Navarro, La RepúblicaHarassed
08/04/98Reneyro Guerra, La RepúblicaHarassed
08/02/98Hugo Guerra Arteaga, El ComercioHarassed
06/18/98César Hildebrandt, Canal 13Threatened
05/26/98Cecilia Valenzuela, Canal 9Threatened
05/22/98César Hildebrandt, Canal 13Threatened
05/22/98Luis Iberico, Canal 9Threatened
05/22/98Gonzalo Quijandria, Canal 9Threatened
05/22/98Cecilia Valenzuela, Canal 9Threatened
05/22/98Fernando Rospigliosi, La RepúblicaThreatened
05/22/98Gustavo Mohme, La RepúblicaThreatened
04/29/98El ComercioThreatened
04/06/98Isabel Chumpitaz Panta, Radio SatéliteKilled
04/06/98José Amaya Jacinto, Radio SatéliteKilled
04/06/98Walter Chumpitaz Panta, Radio SatéliteAttacked
04/06/98Isabel Chumpitaz Panta, Radio SatéliteKilled
04/06/98José Amaya Jacinto, Radio SatéliteKilled
04/06/98Walter Chumpitaz Panta, Radio SatéliteAttacked
03/03/98José Arrieta Matos, Frecuencia Latina-Canal 2Legal Action
01/01/98Angel Páez, La RepúblicaThreatened
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