This period opened with a momentous step in the fight against impunity in cases of attacks against journalists in Peru. On April 7 the Supreme Court sentenced former president Alberto Fujimori to 25 years in prison for crimes against human rights, including the kidnapping in 1992 of journalist Gustavo Gorriti. In September, Fujimori pleaded guilty to tapping the telephones of politicians and journalists as well as bribing, in concert with his adviser Vladimiro Montesinos, candidates, elected officials, journalists and owners of media outlets with public funds to obtain their support for his reelection in 2000. Matters of concern are the increase in attacks on journalists and the media, especially in the provinces, as well as legislative proposals that tend to censor the press on the eve of the campaign to elect regional and municipal officials before the presidential and legislative elections at the end of 2010. On June 5 La Voz radio station in Bagua province was closed after a violent clash that left 24 police officers and five civilians dead. Segundo Alvines Díaz of the magazine Punto Aparte reported that a policeman had pointed a weapon at him to prevent him from recording or taking photographs in the Curva del Diablo area. Carlos Flores Borja, news director of radio station La Voz of Bagua Grande, José Carlos Flores Burgos of the news show “Sin Censura” (Uncensored) and the daily Ahora and Alberto Pintado Villaverde, correspondent of Andina said they had been threatened by telephone. While the radio station´s license was not taken away until three days later, on June 5, the day of the violent clash, the highest level government officials, including the prime minister, the interior minister and the president of Congress publicly accused the radio station of causing the deaths. Enrique Cornejo Ramírez, transport minister, announced that he would investigate, identify and sanction radio stations in the area that had “incited violence.” Media outlets protested and urged the government not to exacerbate the divisions, which were caused by a protest by indigenous communities. The owner and news director of the radio station, which supported giving air time to educational initiatives, the handicapped and the police, denied the political and administrative accusations. Until now the authorities have not shown any evidence to support these charges. Almost half a year later, La Voz radio station of Bagua is still off the air. Recently in October the station´s defense submitted a request for relief to the judiciary, and it is still pending. Judge Julio César Aquino Medino of the Alto Amazonas court opened a criminal proceeding against journalist Geovanni Acate, news director of Radio Oriente and Canal 8 TV because of protests in May by Shawi and Cocama Cocamilla indigenous groups in Yurimaguas shortly before the events in Bagua. The judge held that Acate used his station´s microphones to incite the Indians and demonstrators to unite and support the marches, demonstrations and roadblocks. He concluded that it used its communications tools for political purposes to incite the population to oppose the democratic system. Lifting the operating licenses is becoming a way to close radio stations, often without justification, especially in the provinces. The Radio and Television Chamber of Cusco and the Peruvian Press Council warn that moves are being made to revoke permission to operate for some of the approximately 400 radio stations because of an inconsistency in an article in the Law on Radio and Television concerning the automatic renewal of licenses. With respect to the fight against impunity in cases of killings of journalists, a ruling of a lower level criminal court is expected in the case of journalist Alberto Rivera Fernández in Pucallpa in 2004. The case has been the subject of missions and joint actions by the IAPA and the Peruvian Press Council whose efforts contributed to a decision by the Supreme Court in April to transfer to Lima the trial against the former mayor of Coronel Portillo, Luis Valdez Villacorta, who is now in a maximum security prison on charges of money laundering, and former judge Solio Ramírez for aggravated homicide of the journalist. The decision was made because of doubts raised about the judges in the Ucayali district, who were charged at the time with presiding in the Valdez Villacorta case. In the middle of October, there was a setback in the case because of a technicality, when the chief judge cancelled the hearing because a representative of the Public Ministry was late. It resumed on October 30. The chief prosecutor Ramiro Salinas Siccha has requested a 20-year sentence for the alleged masterminds. On May 16 the Runamasinchinqpaq Human Development Association (ADEHR), which represents relatives of the victims in the Huanta case, reported that the human rights prosecutor of Ayacucho, Andrés Cáceres Ortega, refused to have an expert report to determine if the remains of journalist Jaime Ayala Sulca, who disappeared, are among 37 exhumed from a cemetery in that province. In June, days after President Alan Garcia hinted at it, the decision of the tax agency (SUNAT) to take over the tax administration of Panamérica de Televisión raised a good deal of suspicion. The reaction by the public and the media, expressing fear of political control demanded that SUNAT desist. In January, the tax agency had demanded that Canal 5, whose ownership is disputed by two parties: broadcasters Ernesto Schutz and Genaro Delgado Parker, declare insolvency. During the questioning of the prime minister about the SUNAT intervention in Panamérica de Televisión, legislator Jorge del Castillo, a former prime minister, circulated a motion asked that SUNAT broaden its investigation to all the media, to the opposition daily La Primera and to the spokesman of the government party that Castillo belongs to, “to clarify how they are financed.” Several bills have been presented in Congress but so far have not passed. In August, the Constitution and Regulations Committee brought back the bill on corrections, popularly called the “Gag Law.” It had been presented, then tabled, in January by legislator José Vargas and members of the government caucus. It would set regulations concerning the rights of people who are the subjects of inaccurate or libelous statements in the media. This effort was questioned because it included, among other things, an opinion about the scope of the right to corrections. Vargas withdrew the bill. In September of 2009, the Constitution and Regulations Committee began to debate bill 912/2006-CR that would decriminalize defamation related offenses, and have them adjudicated in civil courts. The initiative was introduced two years ago by Javier Valle Riestra, a legislator of the APRA party. On September 15 the committee began a debate during which the Peruvian Press Council said that while there is a trend to decriminalize press crimes, there were inconsistencies in the bill that would harm press freedom. On March 17, about 30 journalists of various media outlets in Loreto and San Martín provinces were prevented from covering a ceremony in which President Alan García Pérez inaugurated a highway linking the two regions. The journalists protested by placing their cameras, recorders and microphones on the pavement. On March 23, Jaime Abanto Padilla, editor of the daily Panorama Cajamarquino, in the northern department Cajamarca, reported that he had received anonymous death threats because of reports about alleged corruption in the prison of Huacariz involving officials of the National Penitentiary Institute (INPE). On April 6, during a ceremony to inaugurate a public works project, the governor of Ancash, César Álvarez Aguilar attacked the press, as he has ever since he took office in 2007, accusing journalists of extortion without offering proof or details. On April 9, Walter Castillo Chávez, journalist of Radio Libertad in Arequipa, said that early in the morning after he received anonymous telephone threats, unidentified people threw rocks at his house, breaking windows and causing other major damage. On April 15, a group of supporters of Pedro Gorki Tapia Marcel, former Mayor of Huarmey, tried to enter the office of Radio Manatial, which had aired reports of corruption by the mayor that contributed to his removal on April 11. On April 13 unidentified people disconnected the cable of the station´s transmitter’s antenna. On April 29, journalist Rosa Huapaya and cameraman Julio Bazán of RTC Canal 13 in La Libertad department were violently attacked by demonstrators from the United Education Workers Union (SUTEP) and the Front to Defend the Interests of the People (FEDIPTE) while covering a protest march in Huamachuco. On May 7 security guards of the Comarsa mine attacked and confiscated the equipment of reporter Diego Rojas La Torre and cameraman Miguel Martínez Pinedo of the program “Confirmando Trujillo” transmitted by TV Perú. On May 21 Salomón Abensur Díaz, mayor of Maynas in Loreto department, filed a complaint for alleged false statements against journalist Manuel Rosas Mattos of La Karibeña radio station in the prosecutor´s office in Maynas. In April, the journalist had broadcast an audio report in which the mayor allegedly talks about paying his campaign debts by granting contracts and bids to his creditors. He specifically mentioned Herman Pezo, one of the municipality´s main suppliers. On July 16, Javier Martell Quispe, a student, reported that since June, officials of the Catholic University of Peru had attempted to censor the university publication of political and social analysis El Estándar Social, which he has edited since 2006. It has a Web page, annual print editions and three wall newspapers around the campus. In June, officials of the social sciences school, one of three where there are wall newspapers, ordered them taken to storage saying they had been electioneering during student votes. On August 31 Elías Asmat Goicochea, copy editor of the daily Últimas Noticias of the city of Pacasmayo in La Libertad department, reported receiving an anonymous death threat by telephone. He was warned to stop publishing his investigative report about alleged overvaluation for machinery bought by the municipality of Pacasmayo. On September 1, Carlos Pérez León, brother of Pisco councilwoman Margarita Pérez León, attacked Eduardo Ramos Velarde, director of the program “Matices,” broadcast by Radio TV Paracas. On September 8 Judge Jorge Luis Salas of a criminal court in Arequipa overturned the sentence by Judge José Carpio Medina of a lower court against Mabel Cáceres, editor of the weekly El Buho. She had been sued by Professor Percy Chocano Núñez because of the publication of reports questioning the validity of his graduate degrees when he was director of the Graduate School of San Agustín University. The judge also ruled that the case should be sent back to the lower court. On September 8, Mary Espinoza and Edgar Cayllahua Mallma, director and cameraman of the program “Selva al Día” broadcast by Canal 9 in Satipo, Junín department, were attacked and threatened by a mob of demonstrator led by Jorge Ribbek, president of the Self-Defense Committee, while they were covering a public protest. On September 16, a group of workers of the municipality of Huamanga in Ayacucho department attacked and insulted journalists Manuel Ventura of Canal 21 and Walter Condorpusa, correspondent of Panamericana Televisión and took their work equipment. The journalists were covering the transport of two municipal officials who had been sentenced for embezzlement, falsification of documents and of making improper payments to journalists for alleged advertising contracts that never were fulfilled. On October 1 two people attacked Juan José Ramírez Villacorta, host of Radio Superior of Huari in Ancash department, and threatened to kill him. He recognized one of them as Edwin Sánchez, an employee of the national statistics institute whose work he had criticized. On October 4, a police officer in President Alan García Pérez´s security detail attacked Raquel Salazar, reporter of Radio Programas del Perú (RPP), beat her in the face and took away her microphone while she was covering the president´s activities in Lima. On October 11, Fernando Mejía Jara, a reporter for the program “El Equipo de la Noticia” on Radio Melodía in Huari, Ancash department, said a group of municipal guards who said they were acting on the orders of the provincial mayor Edwards Vizcarra Zofrrilla forced him to leave the local bull ring. The journalist attributes the action to his criticism of municipal management. On October 18 a group of street vendors threw stones at journalists Ever Araujo of Cable Futuro Noticias channel and Abigail Díaz of the daily El Trome in Chimbote in Ancash province to prevent them from covering a police operation to evict them from the street. On October 19 the vendors berated the press for misinforming the people, insulted and attacked the journalists Josué Ibarra Julia of the daily La Industria de Chimbote, Paul Meza Castañeda, of the daily Correo and Roxana Peña, correspondent of the news show “América Noticias,” to prevent them from covering more clashes with police.