The tense atmosphere in which the press carries on its work of delivering information has not diminished during this period. Rather, the atmosphere has become rarified due to cases such as the forced closure of La Voz de Bagua radio, the arbitrary detention of the publisher of the weekly Nor Oriente de Bagua Grande or the danger that the murder of journalist Alberto Rivera will remain unpunished. One of the most serious events, however, occurred in mid March when officials of the Executive Branch warned about the presumed and, today, rather clear intention of the government of President Alan García Pérez to interfere in the private affairs of a media group. Unlike the reversed intervention in Panamericana Television through the National Department of Tax Management (SUNAT) in June, 2009, in the case of America Television, the warning came from the Executive Branch. On March 10, at the end of a session of the Council of Ministers, flanked by Prime Minister Javier Velásquez Quesquén, Justice Minister Aurelio Pastor demanded, on behalf of the government, that Congress and the Federal Prosecutor’s Office investigate the independent re-opening of America Television in 2001. That declaration was rejected by institutions and public opinion. The Chairman of the Board of America TV, Luís Miró Quesada, rejected the statements of Minister Pastor and criticized the attempts of the government to intervene. Minister Pastor‘s statement seemed to indicate that the government gives tacit support of the legal maneuvers taken by the former owner of America TV, José Enrique Crousillalt, who was sentenced to eight years in prison for taking 60 million soles from Vladimiro Montesinos, former aide to ex-president Alberto Fujimore, in payment for the purchase of the editorial position of the channel. Coincidentally, José Enrique Crousillt had received the benefit of a presidential pardon in December, based on humanitarian reasons, which was seen as backtracking in the fight against corruption, which received new impetus after the Fujimori government. On March 13, President Alan García revoked the pardon of José Enrique Crousillat, after revelations made in the press showing that his supposed health problems that had justified it were, in fact, fraudulent. On March 17, Minister Pastor, involved in the scandal since he was the politician responsible for Crousillat’s pardon, reacted to the events and accused the El Comercio group of undermining the democratic stability of the country, putting its business interests first, even at the cost of misinforming the public, and he urged citizens to stand up against their communications media. This happened because the media, along with politicians from his own party, had called for his resignation. The Chairman of the Council of Ministers, Javier Velásquez Quesquén, indicated that the cabinet that he heads does not share the position of Minister Pastor and that the government was respectful of freedom of expression. Highly-placed officials of the government also rejected the statements of the then Justice Minister. On March 17, the Justice Minister was relieved of his duties and was replaced by Victor Garcia Toma. On January 12, Alejandro Carrascal Carrasco, publisher of the weekly Nor Oriente of the city of Bagua Grande, province of Utcubamba in the department of Amazonas, was arrested. His detention come at the order of judge Francisco Miranda of the First Criminal Court, who had sentenced him to one year of deprivation of freedom, for the crime of aggravated slander against Victor Feria, former director of the Superior Technological Institute, who had brought a complaint against him in 2005. There are indications that it was a question of political persecution in reprisal for the coverage the weekly paper made of the violent confrontation between politicians and natives known as the “Baguazo” that resulted in the death of 24 police and 10 civilians on June 5, 2009. The Peruvian Press Council is interceding in this case against the President of the Judicial Branch, Dr. Javier Villa Stein, since the Mixed Court of Appeals of Utcubamba, even though time has expired, continues to delay in ruling on the appeal to the sentence and the request for nullification due to irregularities in the process. In this context the closure of La Voz de Bagua radio occurred in June, 2009. The cancellation of the license of Voz de Bagua took place three days later, on June 5. The Prime Minister, the Minister of the Interior, and the President of the Congress continue accusing the radio station of having caused the murders of 20 police officers. On February 16, the Head Prosecutor of the First Provincial Prosecutor’s Office of Utcubamba, Amazonas Region, Ms. Olga Bobadilla, dropped the criminal case against Aurora Burgos de Flores, owner of the radio station, and reporters José Flores Burgos, Leiter Flores Burgos and Alberto Pintado Villaverde for the supposed crime of disturbing the peace as a justification for the act of sedition. In spite of this measure, the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC) refuses to authorize the station to return to the air, and has even seized its bank accounts to cover supposed unpaid fines, which has kept its programs from being aired by other local stations. The director of Radio Oriente and Channel 8 TV, Geovanni Acate, is facing criminal charges in the First Mixed Court of the Upper Amazon for instigating the population against public order. The Minister of Transport and Communications, through Vice Ministerial resolution No. 025-2010-MTC/03, cancelled the license of that television channel using the argument that the station failed to comply with the time period allowed to begin operations in 2005. However, the Vice Minister had issued a certificate of approval of its equipment, which confirmed that Television Oriente had met the technical requirements to function. The station had supported the complaints of indigenous communities. This contrasts with the attitude of the MTC, which in January, as a result of steps taken by the Press Council, through Supreme Decree No. 003-2010-MTC, published in the official daily El Peruano, modified article 68 of the Regulations on the Radio and Television Law which governs applications for renewal of broadcast licenses. That order includes a Temporary Complementary Provision that states that procedures for license renewal may continue in order to avoid the closure of 400 broadcasters in the provinces. On February 9, the IAPA and the Peruvian Press Council considered a decision made by the Third Criminal Court for the Incarcerated of the Superior Court of Lima as a very serious message. That minority decision absolved the former provincial mayor of Coronel Portillo, Luís Valdez Villacorta, and former judge of the Superior Court of Ucayali, Solio Ramirez Garay, who had been removed. The two had been accused of ordering the murder of journalist Alberto Rivera Fernández in the city of Pucallpa in 2004. The trial had begun again at the end of January in the high-security prison of Castro, where Valdez Villacorta is in custody and is facing trial on charges of asset laundering and drug trafficking. The trial was being held amidst accusations of procedural irregularities and with unusual interventions, such as by the president of the court, Jorge Aguinaga, who, while not admitting evidences of the existence of a motive, upheld the decision, alleging that there was not sufficient evidence of the crime. The Judges Oversight Office has begun an investigation on the conduct of the court. A decision is still pending from the Supreme Court on the request from the Senior Prosecutor, Mateo Castañeda, who had asked for 20 years in prison for the crime of murder for those who had been absolved, and has filed an appeal for nullification of the decision . We are concerned about the modification of Article 139 of the Criminal Procedure Code that prohibits publication of information on the progress of a case during the preparatory investigation stage or the intermediate stage, and sanctions those who violate this law with fines, including the media. Also in the judicial area, member of Congress for the governing party Elsa Malpartida filed a formal complaint against El Comercio editor Francisco Miró Quesada Rada and reporter Omar Castilla with the Lima Provincial Criminal Court, alleging they unlawfully disclosed the identity of a person in a report published in November 2009 which said that between 1984 and 1994 Malpartida was in charge of logistics for the Sendero Luminoso in the Alto Huallaga region, which at the time was the main center of operations of that drug trafficking and terrorist organization. Malpartida stopped belonging to it in 1994 when she took advantage of the Law on Repentance. The newspaper’s article was based on documents that in fact Malpartida had submitted to be able to enjoy that benefit. Three days after the publication of the report, on November 4, at a press conference in the company of Ollanta Humala, the leader of her political party, Malpartida far from shedding light on the matter said, without presenting any evidence, that the newspaper had charged for publishing the information. The scheduled legal inquiries have been delayed until further notice. We have also noted a growing intolerance by authorities facing legitimate questioning by the press. A clear example of this is the aggressive attitude adopted by some government officials, including cabinet members such as Defense Minister Rafael Rey and the Peruvian president himself, towards the newspaper La Primera, which also often complains that its reporters are excluded from accompanying cabinet members on trips they make, while numerous other news media are included, as happened in February when Prime Minister Velásquez Quesquen visited flood victims in the Huancavelica region. On a final note, press organizations roundly condemned an incident involving Judge Raúl Rosales More, who after calling the attention of news photographer Carlos Saavedra of the magazine Caretas as he was filming threatened him with a firearm. The judge, who had been questioned about an attempt to reinstate a controversial Constitutional Court justice, later appeared on the magazine’s cover pointing his gun at the photographer. Other major developments during this period: On March 1 journalist Mario Espinoza Ruiz, host of the news program broadcast by Radio Panorama radio station in the Apurimac region, reported that the wife and daughter of a captain accused of corruption broke into his booth as his program was being aired, threatening him and beating him in anger at his coverage of the case. On February 23, journalist Carlos Vásquez Rodas of the program “Fama Noticia” broadcast by Radio Fama in Guadalupe district, Libertad region, reported that the mayor of Pueblo Nuevo threatened him as his bodyguard beat him, in reprisal for what he had been revealing. On February 27, José Puga, a reporter with the newspaper El Comercio, and freelance photographer Jean Marco Córdova reported that they were beaten up by police officers as they were covering an operation to disperse a group of residents of Barranco district in Lima province. On February 22, Otilio Ríos Valdivieso, host of the program “Horizonte en la Noticia” and Ancash region correspondent of the newspaper Ya and television channel ATV Canal 9, reported that he was attacked by the police chief of Serenazgo in the municipality of Pomabamba and his staff for having reported about the reinstatement of a mayor who had been dismissed for corruption. On February 6, Amancio del Aguila, correspondent of Panamericana Televisión and host of the program “Voz y Ritmo en la Noticias” broadcast by Radio 90.1 FM in the city of Tingo María, Huánuco region, reported that a former mayor of Padre Felipe Luyando-Naranjillo district threatened to kill him in front of his two daughters. On February 5, Juan Carlos Lobato, owner of Radio Campesina in the Cajamarca region, reported that the president of the Cajamarca Neighborhoods Association burst into the radio station and on not finding him threatened to kill a group of reporters there for having criticized his conduct. On February 4, Karla Gómez Otoya, a reporter with the “La Libertad” edition of the newspaper Correo, reported that the owner of a boarding house insulted and hit her when she refused to reveal the source of information used in an article in which she reported that criminals were staying at his boarding house in the city of Trujillo. On January 22, Segundo Matta Colunche, a reporter with radio station Ilucán and television station Canal 4 in Cutervo and correspondent of radio stations Marañon in Jaén and Líder in Cajamarca and of the newspaper El Clarín, reported that a member of the staff of the Sub-Regional Department of the Cajamarca region threatened to kill him and warned that he would die before May for having exposed local government corruption. On January 14, Henry Lovera, host of the news program “Punto de Vista” broadcast by radio station La Achirana in Ica region, reported that the mayor of the Pachacama district broke into his booth, hit him and broke a microphone as he was airing a denunciation of misuse of public funds by the mayor. On January 2, members of the 1st Criminal Division of the Supreme Court upheld, by majority vote, the conviction on April 7, 2009 of former president Alberto Fujimori and sentence of 25 years in prison as the one who had ordered crimes committed in Barrios Altos and La Cantuta and the kidnapping of journalist Gustavo Gorriti on April 5, 1992. On December 31, Rodolfo Lobo Tello, host of the program “Contamaná al Día” which is broadcast by Radio Feroz in Loreto region, reported that he was beaten and threatened in his booth by the director of the Local Education Unit (UGEL), who demanded to be interviewed to respond to allegations of wrongdoing during his term of office.. On December 13, cameraman Leocadio Madera of the program “Prensa al Día” broadcast by Canal 47 UHF in Cuzco region, reported that he was arrested and taken to a cell in the courthouse on an arrest warrant in connection with a lawsuit claiming physical aggression brought by a former official of the Cuzco Municipality, whom Madera had tape recorded while the man was drunk. Madera said he had never received the summons to appear in court and he was released the following day. On November 20, Miguel Bellido Almeida, correspondent of the newspaper El Comercio, Winston Callalli Campana of TV Canal 15, Jesús Camacho Quispe of Canal 11 TV Amistad, Carlos Peña Costillo of Andina Radiodifusión, Paúl Pilco Dorregaray, correspondent of the newspaper Correo, and Marcelo Santa of Canal 29 television reported having been beaten and threatened by police officers as they were covering a protest against the president of the Apurimac region. Pilco said he was intercepted by three armed and masked policemen who confiscated his photographic equipment, returning it some hours later with the memory card erased.