Freedom of the Press 2009 - Peru
|Publication Date||1 May 2009|
|Cite as||Freedom House, Freedom of the Press 2009 - Peru, 1 May 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4b2741fd28.html [accessed 2 June 2015]|
Status: Partly Free
Legal Environment: 14 (of 30)
Political Environment: 19 (of 40)
Economic Environment: 11 (of 30)
Total Score: 44 (of 100)
(Lower scores = freer)
Covers events that took place between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2008.
Freedom of the press is guaranteed by the 1993 constitution, but local and international media organizations continued to express concern regarding the media's ability to openly criticize the government.
In 2002 and 2003, the government of President Alejandro Toledo passed laws expanding access to public information. The willingness of many agencies to provide information has grown, despite a July 2005 measure that tightened restrictions on certain categories and extended the timelines for the release of classified information.
Defamation remains a criminal offense in Peru, and journalists continue to be imprisoned on defamation charges. In a high-profile case in October, Magaly Medina, a popular gossip journalist on the national television station ATV, was sentenced to five months in prison for defaming Peruvian soccer star Paolo Guerrero, who charged that she had insulted his honor and ruined his reputation in a report on his late-night drinking before an important soccer match. ATV producer Ney Guerrero Orellana received a three-month sentence.
The hostile climate for the press is evidenced by numerous instances of physical attacks and verbal threats by local authorities, private actors such as cocoa growers, and the police. Topics like the Shining Path guerrilla movement, corruption, and drug trafficking are considered particularly dangerous to cover. The National Journalists' Association reported 177 cases of harassment in 2008, and the Institute of Press and Society issued 105 alerts.
Impunity remained a problem during the year, as most cases of violence or harassment of journalists by public officials and private citizens continued to go unpunished.
The government owns two television networks and one radio station and operates the print news agency Andina. However, private outlets dominate the media industry, and the audience for state-run media is relatively small.
Radio is an important news medium, especially in the countryside.
The media corruption that was endemic during the presidency of Alberto Fujimori in the 1990s continues to some extent, with both owners and individual journalists occasionally accepting bribes in exchange for slanted coverage.
The internet is not restricted by the government, and 26 percent of the population accessed the medium in 2008.