57th General Assembly Washington, DC October 12 – 16, 2001 PERU There have been positive developments for freedom of speech and of the press in Peru since our last report. The inauguration of the winning candidate in the presidential elections, Alejandro Toledo, marked a milestone for democracy and freedom of the press. Another important development was the signing of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, whereby member countries of the Organization of American States (OAS) and representatives of civil society recommended setting up practical mechanisms for public participation, to create a more harmonious society. In addition, the Peruvian Press Council set new policy to give the public access to information from all government entities. By virtue of Ministerial Resolution 431-2001-JUS, moreover, the Peruvian government granted amnesty to journalist Antero Grimaldo Gargurevich Oliva, who had been held at Lima’s “Miguel Castro Castro” maximum-security prison since April 14, 1994, after being sentenced to 12 years by the Special Court for Cases of Terrorism. The resolution states that the ad hoc committee that recommended the pardon had asserted that the charges against Gargurevich Oliva had been based on insufficient evidence, such that he could reasonably be presumed not to have been associated in any way with individual terrorists or terrorist activities or organizations. Through Congress, the press had access to a new video showing Ernesto Shutz, chairman of the board of Panamericana Televisión (Peru’s leading television station), receiving money directly from Vladimiro Montesinos, along with an audio recording that left no doubt that a financial deal was being struck to buy off the station for money. Shutz was arrested in Argentina while attempting to flee to Europe and is in the process of being extradited to Peru. Journalist Cecilia Valenzuela was accused of libel and of wrongfully accusing a person of a criminal act by former president Alan García and members of the Aprista Party, in response to a report aired on her television program “Entre Líneas” (Canal N) that drew a link between García and Montesinos. Additionally, journalist César Hildebrandt announced that he would shortly be arrested and tried for defamation, but the case was finally dismissed. Organizations for the defense of freedom of the press denied charges of libel and defamation leveled by retired Col. Yldorfo Cueva Retuerto against journalists Jesús Alfonso Castiglione Mendoza, Martín Gómez Arquiño and Hugo Gonzáles Henostroza, petitioning the judge of the Huaraz criminal court hearing the case, Dr. Gregorio Arias Blas, to dismiss the complaint. They also reported Cueva Retuerto to the Truth Commission established to identify those responsible for human rights violations from 1980 to 2000, for his actions against journalists as head of a police unit. A statement was prepared, setting out the concerns of the family of Eduardo Calmell regarding his trial. Calmell’s incarceration continues, and no conviction or acquittal has been forthcoming. Finally, the executive committee of the Peruvian Press Council met with the speaker and the five vice speakers of the Congress, to articulate its position on bills that relate to freedom of speech and of the press.