PERU The political, social and press situation in Peru has recently undergone dramatic changes. The dismantling of an entire system that oppresses press freedom has begun with the dissolution of the National Intelligence Service and the exile of its chief, Vladimiro Montesinos. The “yellow” newspapers linked to the intelligence service are still publishing and there is evidence that they still have close ties to military leaders who resist democratization. For that reason, incidents of threats, intimidation, warnings and surveillance have lessened but not ended. And some very complex cases have not been closed, including the important case of Frecuencia Latina, Baruch Ivcher and the case of Radio 1160-Canal 13 de Televisión. This continues even though there are judicial decisions favoring those deprived of rights and even a ruling by the Organization of American States. On March 16, journalists from two radio news shows and one newspaper in Huaraz were forced to suspend operations and resign in the case of the newspaper La Jornada, reportedly because of government pressure. On March 20, the owner of Radio Junín, Jacinto Manuel Figueroa Yauri, and its business manager, Percy Chagua Huarando, asked provincial police for protection, because, they said, the station’s staff had received frequent telephone threats. The station had reported about election irregularities and reports in El Comercio about massive falsification of signatures. On April 1, a special tax and customs court reversed an order to arrest businessman Genaro Delgado Parker and the ruling that he was a fugitive from justice in his trial for alleged fraud when he was part of the administration of Panamericana Televisión (Pantel). Last December, Judge Pineda Cáceres declared him a fugitive and put out a national and international warrant for his arrest when he failed to appear in court. On April 6, the director of the news show “Ancash in the News,” Hernán Carrión de la Cruz reported in the newspaper La Industria de Chimbote that an unidentified assailant had fired on him from a vehicle. Carrión, who said he received frequent telephone threats, said he assumes the attack was because of his criticism of the government. On April 7, a civil court in Lima ordered the seizure of the presses of the newspapers Liberación and Punto Final, which oppose the government. Punto Final went out of business. On the same day, Perla Villanueva Pérez, a correspondent of Canal N in Trujillo, said she was constantly harassed and followed. A car tried to run over her and her sister. On April 9, the day of general elections, a mob attacked reporters from Panamericana Televisión Canal 5 as they covered a rally for Alejandro Toledo, candidate of Perú Posible. On March 14, a mob of Peru 2000 supporters headed by an official of Pronamachs of Huaraz, Braulio Estrada Mirabal, attacked three journalists and a priest who were filming and taking pictures in Carhuaz. On May 18, several journalists, most of them opponents of the government, were subjected to physical and psychological attacks in Iquitos. Among them were: Raúl Celis and Luis Ugaz of Radio Astoria; Armando Murrieta and Nancy Villacorta of Radio 10; Carlos Martínez and James Beuzeville of Radio Arpegio, and Santiago González Coronado and Carmen Rosa Bardales of the newspaper La República. On May 22, the signal of Canal N was cut abruptly while it was broadcasting Toledo’s rally. It was also reported that at the end of the rally correspondent Carlos Torres Salas was surrounded and attacked by supporters of Peru 2000. May 29, Leddy Mozombite Linares, director of the program “Soncco warmi” (Woman’s Heart) of Radio Santa Rosa de Lima, was attacked by unidentified assailants. Journalists at the radio station said she was attacked because the government was criticized on her program. On June 2, as part of the Access to Official Information and Government Sources project, the Peruvian Press Institute and the Ombudsman’s Office signed a cooperation agreement to promote access to public information, foster openness and oversight of government actions concerning the use of public funds. On June 7, the National Election Court fined Canal N $84,000 for allegedly violating the Electoral Law by publishing opinion polls at a time when it is forbidden to do so. The fine was later reduced. On June 9, the election court fined the Huaraz affiliate of Global Televisión Canal 13 58,000 soles for commenting on May 14 on opinion polls about the election runoff. This is 400 per cent more than the newspaper Expreso was fined. On June 12, Mónica Vecco, a reporter in the investigative section of the newspaper La República received a threat by e-mail. The address was given as “the library of Indiana University-Purdue, Indianapolis, Ill.” The message was signed by the “April 5 Command.” On June 25, Baruch Ivcher was detained for five hours at the Warsaw airport when he arrived to attend the World Democracy Forum organized by Freedom House and the Stefan Batory Foundation. On July 11, the newspaper Expreso resigned from the Peruvian Press Council. The council said the request was unanimously accepted and that if the newspaper had not resigned it would have been expelled. The council rejected the political appearance that Expreso tried to give its resignation. On July 14, prosecutor Lizardo Suárez dismissed the case brought by Fabián Salazar, former employee of Frecuencia Latina―Canal 2 during the administration of Baruch Ivcher. Suárez said he was tortured by unidentified people who also removed filmed material from his property. Lizardo Suárez dismissed the case because he said there were contradictions in it. Salazar fled to the United States because he feared reprisals. On July 28, marches and demonstrations were held throughout Lima to demand the restoration of democracy in Peru. During the March of the Four Suyos there were disturbances, vandalism and clashes with police and as a result a mobile unit and journalists from Canal 9 were attacked. The same thing happened to other reporters, and the offices of some media outlets, including channels 5, 4 and 2 and Radio Programas del Perú. On August 17, James Beuzeville, director of the program “La Razón” on radio Arpegio of Iquitos, in Loreto province, was approached by four people who threatened to kill him if he continued to criticize tourism business leader Roberto Rotondo. On August 25, the executive branch submitted to Congress a bill to regularize the status of nationalized foreigners “who have not received their naturalization papers because they did not demonstrate renunciation of their original citizenship.” The initiative would affect Baruch Ivcher which shows a hint of good will on the part of the democratic wing of the government. But Ivcher has rejected the plan, demanding the overturning of the Interior Ministry’s decision to take away his citizenship. On September 12, the mayor of San Juan de Lurigancho, Ricardo Chiroque, and his bodyguards attacked Alexis Fiestas Quinto and Víctor Granda of the newspaper El Popular. They were beaten and threatened with a gun while they were covering a protest march organized by residents demanding better sanitation services, and their reporting material was stolen. On September 15, the IAPA protested the attacks. On September 19, criminal court judge Sonia Medina Calvo in Lima was unexpectedly dismissed. She had been hearing the libel case brought by executives of the magazine Gente against the editorial page editor of the newspaper El Comercio, Hugo Guerra, Canal N and others. Gente withdrew the complaint against Guerra and Canal N. This occurred after Judge Medina said she had been pressured by the acting chief judge Alejandro Rodríguez Medrano. According to other testimony and evidence, Rodríguez is a link between Montesinos and the judiciary. On February 29, El Comercio reported that more than a million false signatures were used to register the National Independent Front Peru 2000, a member of Alianza Peru 2000, which supported the reelection of President Alberto Fujimori. This set off a series of government reprisals against the newspaper. On March 13, less than 24 hours after the broadcast of the program “Counterpoint” on Frecuencia Latina Canal 2, with a segment against El Comercio, the prosecutor of the single-rate dollar case, Jorge Sanz Quiroz opened an investigation. It was based on information in the program, which in turn was based on a shareholder’s complaint against the company concerning events that occurred more than 10 years ago. On March 31, Sanz Quiroz closed the investigation, saying that the statute of limitations had passed. “The criminal action is beyond the statute of limitations whenever events in a complaint date back to the years from 1980 to 1990, that is more than 10 years have elapsed, since the statute of limitations is seven years.” On April 24, prosecutor Paredes Lovera appealed the ruling that his complaint was inadmissible. Against any legal coherence, Sanz Quiroz “suddenly” forgot the arguments he had made on two other occasions and changed his mind, accepting the appeal and moving it to the Superior Prosecutor’s Office. On May 4, Paredes Lovera disqualified himself and immediately closed the case. Nonetheless, Hilda Valladares, a tax and customs prosecutor, opened an investigation on the basis of a criminal complaint brought by shareholders who own only 0.57 per cent of the stock, basing the complaint again on the arguments presented on “Counterpoint.” On July 11, after having kept a tax investigation against El Comercio open for more than 100 days, even after it had been closed, the ad hoc prosecutor of the single-rate dollar case and the superior prosecutor’s office definitively closed the case. Another complaint against executives of El Comercio presented to Valladares by people who owned less than half of 1 per cent of the stock, was heard concurrently by the same office. Therefore no case is active concerning this issue.