During this period, the Inter American Press Association and the Peruvian Press Council have campaigned for a solution to the April 2004 murder of journalist Alberto Rivera Fernández in the city of Pucallpa. These efforts have yielded promising results from the police, although work remains to be done in the judicial arena. The meetings held in both Lima and Pucallpa between government authorities and the presidents and representatives of the two press organizations succeeded in calling attention to Rivera’s murder among senior officials of the judicial branch, the Office of the Attorney General, the Interior Ministry, the National Police, the journalists’ union and, above all, the public. This work played a decisive role in breathing new life into the trial and aiding in the ultimate solution of the murder. The case had been languishing with little progress in the Court of Ucayali. During the week of September 20 — when a vigorous anti-impunity campaign was conducted through major media outlets in Peru and the joint missions of the IAPA and the Peruvian Press Council were carried out — three public hearings were held in Pucallpa in the trial for the murder of Rivera, who had worked at the radio station Oriental. In fact, it was at one of these hearings where journalist Roy Culqui, who had been claiming innocence for a year, surprised everyone when he confessed to killing Rivera. The joint mission concluded with the Declaration of Pucallpa, which was signed by the Press and Society Institute as well as a growing number of institutions and journalists from various media outlets in Peru. As a result, and in an unprecedented act, a group of editors and investigative journalists from various media outlets joined together to share information on the Rivera case, to continue Rivera’s investigative journalism work, and to publish this work simultaneously. On October 1 in Lima, the National Police captured Ángel Mendoza Casanova, who had been on the run. Mendoza confessed to his involvement in the murder and stated that the crime had been ordered by Solio Ramírez Garay, the current chief justice of the Civil Court of Ucayali, which is the highest civil court in the region. Ramírez was removed from the bench and worked as city manager under Mayor Luis Valdez Villacorta until he was allowed to return to the bench last February. On October 5 the other perpetrator, Lito Fasabi Pizango, turned himself in and confessed that he had killed Rivera. In his statement he directly implicated Mayor Valdez as the person who had ordered the crime, and added that he was offered $300,000 to carry it out. He also implicated the chief justice of the Court of Ucayali. On October 7 the prosecution ordered the arrest of Mayor Valdez (who took refuge in a clinic where he remains under surveillance) and Judge Solio Ramírez, who is now at large. The campaign to see that Rivera’s murder does not go unpunished encouraged the family of Melissa Alfaro Méndez, a journalist who died in October 1991 as a result of a letter bomb sent to the now-defunct weekly newspaper Cambio, where she was the news editor. At the time this newspaper was linked to the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, a terrorist organization. The court’s investigation into the murder of Alfaro Méndez, 23, was abruptly suspended following the “self-coup” by then-President Alberto Fujimori in 1992, and the case was subsequently included in the list of crimes committed by the paramilitary squadron known as Grupo Colina. In 2004, Alfaro’s family filed a new complaint for her murder with a special unit of the regional Public Prosecutor’s Office, but no developments have been reported in the case so far. There has been an increase in the number of attacks, threats, and incidents of judicial harassment against journalists as a result of their work in reporting the news and denouncing wrongdoing. This is occurring at a time when political campaigns are gearing up for the 2006 general elections. Thus, the climate for press freedom in Peru can be expected to be hostile in the coming months. Several incidents affecting the work of the press occurred amid protests and social unrest, which are intensifying in various regions of the country. These actions came from both law enforcement and from citizens and organized groups. However, we have also seen hostility and attacks against journalists from high-level representatives or members of the government, as well as regional officials. This includes the case of a judge who barred members of four media outlets from attending a press conference, claiming that he disagreed with the way these outlets had covered the work of the courts. Another example is the violence attack by Luis Toledo, the brother of President Alejandro Toledo, on journalists from Channel 4 who were investigating the improper use of government vehicles by the president’s family members. A number of court cases are cause for concern. First, the Superior Court of Madre de Dios denied an appeal and upheld the sentence of two years in prison and a ban from working as a journalist against Luis Aguirre Pastor, a journalist for the radio station La Voz of Madre de Dios. The court based its ruling on the fact that Aguirre does not have a college degree or belong to the Journalists Colegio. Two journalists from the newspaper El Comercio, Fernando Ampuero and Pablo O’Brien, denounced a campaign of intimidation that includes threats of legal action for damages of up to US$600 million brought by Fernando Zevallos, who is charged with drug trafficking and Jorge Mufarech, a congressman. Furthermore, there were five criminal complaints filed in Panama, Colombia and Peru; questionable judicial practices; and a systematic harassment campaign by the company Bavaria in relation to published reports involving alleged bribery in the acquisition of the Backus beer company. Causing concern is the multimillion-dollar lawsuit for defamation of character brought by Congressman Jorge Mufarech Nemy against journalist Pedro Salinas. The Ombudsman’s Office has filed an amicus curiae brief with the criminal court in Lima that will rule on the case. After three years, the 36th District Criminal Court of Lima acquitted the newspaper El Comercio in a multimillion-dollar libel case brought by ruling-party congressman Jorge Mufarech. A criminal court has overturned a ruling handed down last May in a libel case against journalists Jane Holligan and Sally Bowen that had been brought by controversial businessman Fernando Zevallos. The lower-court ruling had been based on the concept of “reservation of judgment,” which would have made further penalties conditional on Bowen’s future work as a journalist. In legislative developments, the National Intelligence Service and Intelligence Office Act has dangerous implications for the public’s right to obtain information. This legislation has been passed by Congress and is awaiting the president’s signature. It is designed to use a regular law to amend a law on constitutional rights — namely, the Freedom of Information Act, in effect since 2003 — based on an extremely broad and ambiguous concept of national security, which could be interpreted in such a way as to restrict the right to obtain information. Also, it establishes special rules for intelligence activities by creating new categories and longer time periods for the classification and declassification of information. This could return the country to a culture of secrecy. Below is a list of developments during this period: On September 19, 2003, Luis Aguirre Pastor of regional radio station Voz Amazónica of Madre de Dios, was convicted in a trial court and sentenced to two years in jail for libel. In addition the Superior Court of Madre de Dios region barred him from practicing his profession for one year because he did not have a university degree and was not a member of the journalists’ colegio. Aguirre regularly wrote articles critical of corruption involving regional authorities. At the beginning of March, the Madre de Dios Superior Court upheld the conviction, which had been appealed on February 4, 2005. On March 2, José Antonio Simons Cappa, editor of the magazine El Huinsho of Yurimaguas, Alto Amazonas, was beaten and threatened and had his equipment seized by local authorities. This occurred after Simons filmed a conversation in public involving the mayor, Leonardo Inga Vásquez, municipal official Roland Pinedo, Councilman Fernando Fernández Rengifo and provincial prosecutor Jorge Guzmán Sánchez, who is investigating criminal complaints brought against the mayor’s administration. On March 8, Pedro Andrade, a reporter for Radio Programas del Peru; Marco Herrera, a reporter from Huaraz municipality; and Arturo Escobar, Javier Poma Sotelo, Fredy Valenzuela, Joel Gómez Arquiño and Hernando Vega, journalists for ATV Noticias in Huaraz, were attacked by members of the National Police while they covered the nationwide strike against the Minera Barrick company headed by Leonardo Mautino, also governor of that province. In addition, journalists Edgar Robles Rush, Ivan Trejos de la Cruz, William Cervantes Alvarado and Oscar Rosas Albornoz, of the program “El Equipo de la Noticia” of radio station Fuego de Huaraz were detained and then released in a few hours. Early in the morning on March 17, unidentified persons entered the facilities of the radio station La Involvidable in Sicuani, Cuzco region, and stole electronic equipment and files. On March 17, Magno Sosa, editor of the biweekly Rebelión of Huamanga, Ayacucho region, was violently attacked and received death threats from officers with a regional group the Front of Laid Off Women, Gloria Álvarez de la Cruz and Basiliza Dololier Quispe. They both were criticized for charging fees to workers who wanted to be put on the list of those to be rehired. On March 22, Jesús Acevedo Herrera, correspondent of Frecuencia Latina, in Pisco, Ica region, and Richard Villagaray Hernández of the Cadena Peruana de Noticias chain, were attacked and their recording equipment was taken away by a mob of residents during a protest by cotton farmers who blocked the southern Pan-American Highway with rocks and tires. On March 26, Victor Abel del Castillo Saavedra of TV Sur Canal 9, was attacked violently by municipal police officers in the Plaza Nazarenas of Cuzco. Apparently the attacks were caused by the journalist’s reports that the Cuzco municipality had made irregular payments to journalists to promote the mayor’s work. On March 28, two unidentified men entered the home of journalist Marilú Gambini Lostanau in Chimbote, Ancash. While one of them assaulted and threatened her, the other searched her work material apparently looking for information about a narcotics case that the journalist had been investigating since 2004 involving several officials of that city. On April 5, Miguel Angel Carpio Tanata, a reporter for the program “El Informe” which is transmitted by the municipal channel in San Martín region, had to leave the area after being informed of a threat against his life. The threats followed the broadcast of a fragment of a report by him during a press conference organized by the office of Prime Minister Carlos Ferrero. On April 11, Judge Maria Gutarra Morote of a Lima court, opened an investigation of journalist Mauricio Aguirre Corvalán for the crime of “revealing national secrets to the detriment of the state” in the political program broadcast by “Cuarto Poder” of América Televisión when Aguirre was news director of the program. The charge was based on broadcast of a session of the National Defense Council in which there was discussion of the border conflict between Peru and Ecuador filmed by the son of then president Alberto Fujimori. On April 12, César Hildebrandt Chávez, journalist of the program “La Ventana Indiscreta” broadcast by Frecuencia Latina, was physically attacked by relatives of police Lt. Lady Bardales, a member of the security detail of the Government Palace who had been investigated by the press for allegedly being close to President Alejandro Toledo. On April 15, Laura Mirella Valero Paredes, director of the program “En el Punto de la Información” of Machu Picchu Televisión, was attacked physically and verbally by a mob of residents outside the Palace of Justice of Cuzco while covering a protest march. On April 18, José Antonio Cárdenas, zone chief of the government program “A Trabajar Urbano” used a revolver to threaten to kill Raul Vela Carhuas, of the daily El Pregonero of Huánuco, because of his report of irregularities in Cárdenas’s sector. On May 1, the owner of radio Sechura in Piura, Rudecindo Jullca Ramírez, reported that Manuel Pazos Nunura, his brother Augusto Pazos Nunura, and two unknown men violently entered his station and attacked his anchorman, Casimiro Pazo Periche, who in recent weeks had publicly defended local fishermen. On May 6, Luis Alberto Peña Vergaray of radio Nieva de Santa María of Nieva and his translator, Eduardo Arrobo Samaniego, were kidnapped by Aguaruna natives in the community of Pampa Entsa, Amazonas region, to pressure the government to send a committee to deal with their complaints. The committee began a dialogue on May 9 and the journalist was released. On May 11, the judicial oversight office began an investigation of Judge Alfredo Catacora for alleged misconduct in handling the complaint of defamation filed by businessman Fernando Zevallos against journalists Sally Bowen and Jane Holligan. On May 20, legislator Victor Valdez Meléndez attacked Rufino Zambrano Pinto of the daily Ahora of Pucallpa after Valdez testified in a court in Coronel Portilla province in the lawsuit against the daily for defamation because of articles blaming the legislator for instigating a protest that ended with a fire that affected the provincial government building of Coronel Portillo. On May 25, journalists Jerónimo Centurión and Paola Bazán of the program “La Ventana Indiscreta” of Frecuencia Latina were detained for several hours by members of the National Police as they left one of the building of the National Congress. The unauthorized detention in a local police station occurred because the journalists recorded the contents of a box in the office of legislator Fausto Alvarado. On May 26 and 27, Mario Espinoza Ruiz, Ronald Ripa Casafranca and Nilo González Domínquez of Radio Panorama of Andahuaylas received telephone death threats at the radio station after interviewing the director of the city’s school board, Liceo Truyenque Aréstegui about a complaint by a group of local teachers. On May 28, a court overturned the conviction of Sally Bowen and Jane Holligan for defamation against businessman Fernando Zevallos. On June 6, Juan Sánchez Calderón, anchorman of the program “Minuto a Minuto” and news director of radio Visión of Tacna, reported that the chief of the accounts section of the water department of Tacna attacked them at the radio station. They attributed the attack to journalistic reports about alleged irregularities. On June 8, Silvana Mox Mendoza of Amazónica Televisión—Canal 2I, was attacked by demonstrators of the Frente Patriótico of Loreto, while she covered the impact of the strike this group was staging in Iquitos. On June 13, Elsa Marpartida, general secretary of the National Confederation of Agricultural Producers of the Coca Producing Basin of Peru said she would not be responsible for the security of journalist Máximo Silva Chávez of radio Inca Sat during a protest by coca growers on June 27 since the journalist had been damaging her good name since 2003. On June 16, Luis Mego Díaz, correspondent of América Televisión, Jaime Herrera Atalaya of Televisión Nacional del Perú (TNP) and Percy Ramírez, correspondent of the daily Correo were beaten by a group of residents of San Cirilo in the department of Cajamarca while they covered a protest against the Yanacocha mining company. On June 23, journalists Carlos Buendía Aguilar with Correo newspaper and radiostation Huanta 2000, Alejandra Coronado Reyes, with radio station Cosmos, and Feliciando Tello Orejón with Radio Cultural Amauta in the city of Ayacucho, were physically and verbally attacked by a mob of demonstrators belonging to the Mother's Clubs Federation in the area. On June 24, Fabiola Noriega, journalist with La República newspaper, was insulted by members of President Alejandro Toledo's personal security detail in the city of Cajamarca. When Noriega complained to first lady Eliane Karp about the attitude of the bodyguards, the first lady ridiculed the reporter, saying, "What a shame, are you going to cry? Well, go on and cry, it will make you feel better." President Toledo subsequently apologized over the incident. On June 29 the congressional sub-committee on defense agreed to summon first lady Eliane Karp de Toledo, to solve the alleged surveillance of Baruch Ivcher, owner of Frecuencia Latina. Some months early, both had been involved in a violent altercation during a ceremony at the Israeli Embassy. On July 5, the Minister of Interior, Félix Murazzo, anounced that he had taken out a complaint against four journalists with the program, “La Ventana Indiscreta” on Frequencia Latina, Cecilia Valenzuela (director), José Luis Flores (producer), Jerónimo Centurión and Alexa Vélez (reporters), based on a broadcast of a video linking him to Fujimori's former advisor Vladimiro Montesinos. On July 8, a group of inhabitants in the area around Combayo community, in the Cajamarca region, physically and verbally attacked journalists Eduardo Liñan Casteñeda with Channel 25, Álvaro Briones with Telenorte, and cameraman Daniel Urday, while they covered a meeting with the inhabitants and local officials regarding the development of a mining operation. On July 8, two brothers Moisés and Alex Wolfson, owners of the newspaper La Razón were freed from the first-time offenders prison formerly known as San Jorge under an agreement to accept house arrest. On that same day Congress overwhelmingly repealed the law by 49 votes in favor, with none against and 20 abstentions. On July 25 the Wolfson brothers returned to the San Jorge prison after the house arrest law was repealed. The First Criminal Court Panel of the Supreme Court rescinded their release order following a Supreme Court decision. On July 11, Robinson Gonzáles Campos, chief justice for the First Criminal Court Panel of the Supreme Court, barred various media outlets from attending a press conference, at which he was to have reported on the ruling that freed the Wolfson brothers, owners of La Razón. On July 15, Mabel Cácares Calderón, editor of the weekly El Búho published in Arequipa, was convicted of libel of Miguel Sierra López, attorney for the Chancellor of the San Agustín University in Arequipa. The weekly is known for its reporting on corruption, influence trafficking and embezzlement at the university. On July 17 Cecilia Valenzuela, program director of “La Ventana Indiscreta” broadcast a recording of a threat made on July 9, in which a woman demands over the telephone that Valenzuela cease looking into the activities of the National Police of Peru and the Minister of the Interior, Félix Murazzo. On July 23, Mario Ccama Chacón, town manager for the Santa Teresa district in Cusco, violently forced his way into the broadcast booth for the People's Voice Radio, while Luis Alberto Ochoa Muñoz reported on administrative irregularities in that town. Ccama fired a shot at the journalist, but since the bullets were defective Ochoa was not wounded. The attacker was arrested and taken to the San Joaquín Prison in Quillabamba. On July 28, Roncin Davis Romero, Zarumilla province chief in the Tumbes region used a bottle to attack journalist Christian Aguayo Infante, editor of the bimonthly, Trinchera. The reporter attributes the attack to stories on illegal activities involving Davis during his term in office. On August 2, the Piura military division commander, General Ricardo Benevides Ramírez, conformed that Cutivalú radio journalist, Julio Cesar Vásquez Calle, had been detained on August 1 in Huancabamba province in the northern region of Piura, while covering a violent protests against mining. The journalist was subsequently freed. On August 4, Félix Calva Guerrero, a journalist with Radio Santa Rosa Chirinos, was released by the National Police after being held for 3 days at Cerro de Corazón de Jesús in Huancabamba province. On August 17, Judge César González Aguirre, on the Huánuco First Superior Court Criminal Panel, threatened Celio Alva Calderón, correspondent of El Pregonero newspaper. The judge had brought an action for libel against journalist Raúl Vela Carhuas, El Pregonero editorial page editor, as well as Alva Calderón, following reporting on abuse of authority and malfeasance by González, who is alleged to have issued conflicting rulings in a trial. On August 19, journalist Gino Márquez and cameraman Germán Huaroto, with the news program "Cuarto Poder" on América Televisión, were threatened by Luis Toledo Manrique, the president's brother, his son and a member of his security detail, while investigating irregularities involving use of official vehicles by family members of president Toledo. On August 22, journalists Juan José Payé, Gloria Armendáriz and Ruth Avendaño with Radio Libertad in Arequipa, reported that they were being systematically followed during July. The tail is alleged to have been ordered by the Ministry of the Interior. On September 12, Jenner Sermaqué Cieza, of Correo de Tumbes newspaper, reported having been detained by a group of Peruvian naval officers while working in the La Cruz district.