PERU A new Constitution, written by an elected Constituent Congress, was passed. It will go into effect once it is approved in a referendum. Basically, the principles of freedom of ideas, opinion and expression are clearly and explicitly expressed, as they were in the previous constitution. The inclusion of a new constitutional guarantee, known as "Habeas Data," has stirred up controversy. On the one hand, citizens - therefore journalists - can demand that authorities reveal facts of public interest that are unduly withheld. On the other hand, it provides a mechanism through which a citizen can correct or eliminate information that is incorrect or illegal from the files of both private and public entities. However, in the Peruvian case the scope of the "Habeas Data" has been broadened. It leaves open the possibility that a judge, on the grounds that a constitutional right is being threatened, could block publication of any information that a person would allege is intimate and personal. The experience of the courts in handling constitutional questions raises fears that there could be an abuse of requests for "Habeas Data" and that, while the judge is considering the case, many people or public officials could use this to prevent publication of information in the public interest. Because of the controversy, the government has introduced a bill that would set limits on "Habeas Data" actions. The bill would establish that a "Habeas Data" action "cannot affect the exercise of freedom of information ... " It specifies also that such an action "cannot restrict journalists' professional secrets," A favorable new item in the Constitution is the inclusion of the right of the professional secret in paragraph 18 of Article 2. Several journalists have been detained and charged in the courts, the majority of them for acts presumably tied to terrorism. Within this unclear spectrum of situations there are: those unjustly detained, those detained because of circumstantial connections with terrorism and those who are linked to terrorists. There have been cases of police abuse. Among those accused of terrorism and later freed were: Danilo Quijano, stringer for La Republica, who was held for more than a year; Gisella Sutarra and Alicia Figueroa, former stringers for El Diario, the Shining Path organ that at the time circulated illegally; Rosa Neyra, held for 11 months as a collaborator of Cambia, weekly newspaper of the terrorist group MRTA. Among those apparently wrongly detained were Francisco Reyes Follano, reporter for La Republica, arrested in Yurimahuyas for treason and later mistreated; Eleodoro Garda Sajami, a radio journalist accused of collaboration with terrorists, who previously had charged that some police officers had connections with drug trafficking; Walter Perez Meza, editor of El Dfa, and Willy La Torre Chunga, news photographer for the same paper, who were detained August 2 near the Peruvian jungle town of Pucallpa as they returned from a meeting of farmers organized by the Navy. Five days later they were freed and the charges dropped. Also being held on charges of terrorism are reporters Alfonso Castiglione, owner of the radio station Stereo Chavin; Jose Alvarez Pachas, copy editor of Cambia who was accused of supporting terrorism; and photographers Johnny Navarro and Pedro Valdez of El Diaria. Also held are radio announcer Hermes Rivera; Radio Salkantay reporters Augusto Chacón Quispe, Wilbert Tintaya and Walter Apomayta. Eduardo Sihue was being held on charges of supporting terrorism because he worked at Cambia. Radio San Isidro was taken over for 15 minutes by a group of terrorists who wanted to broadcast a subversive statement. However, technical problems prevented them from carrying out their intentions. Instead, they took the money and personal documents of the station employees. Pro-government politicians reacted vigorously to published reports on the disappearance of nine La Cantuta University students and a professor. Several facts suggest the clear possibility that the perpretrators were paramilitary personnel. Reacting to the stories and journalistiC investigations, some members of Congress raised the possibility that the media were violating a law against supporting terrorism. Obviously this could be used to limit freedom of the press. On this same subject, La Republica protested a Peruvian Army communique questioning the veracity of a news story that contained statements by the Army chief of staff. The other media supported La Republica. Police violently broke up a protest demonstration organized by the Journalists Colegio. Among those who were injured was the dean of the press corps, Miguel Calderon Paz. There was an attempt under a municipal order to shut down Channel 45 in Villa, El Salvador, a district outside Lima. Thanks to public support for the station, the shutdown was not carried out. However, a room used at times as a set was closed. A massive new threat against newsmen from the Shining Path arose in Ayacucho. In mid-July reporter Juan Ponce of Oiga, a magazine somewhat critical of the government, was barred from accompanying the presidential delegation on its trips around the country. This restriction was broadened to include several opposition magazines, including Caretas and Sf. A bill was introduced in Congress on May 28 to amend Penal Code Articles 154, 164, 169,240 and 249. Amendments to the first two would not allow an individual's right to privacy to interfere with publication of matters in the public interest. Another amendment would improve the law that deals with closing media organizations. Finally, the measure would specify the scope of provisions concerning financial information, which currently are so vague they put journalists at risk of being accused of non-compliance. A bill to amend the Telecommunications Law would include the possibility that the Executive Branch could authorize the Joint Command of the Armed Forces to assume control of news media in case of war or national emergency. The lack of precision on what constitutes a national emergency is of great concern in a country in which terrorism still exists and which therefore has emergency laws. The minister of transport and communications has promised to make the necessary corrections. A bill was introduced in Congress that would exempt newspaper and magazines from an 18 per cent general sales tax. The editor of Expreso, Manuel d'Ornellas, and copy editor Liz Mineo were accused of libeling former President Alan Garcia. However, the court acqUitted them. The charge stemmed from the alleged role of Garcia in the disappearance of 48 kilos of gold from the company Centromln-Peru. Acting Judge Maria Carrasco Matuda held that "the stories in question were written using the right of opinion and freedom of the press which the state recognizes, respects and guarantees." Enrique Zileri, editor of the magazine Caretas, once again had an increased sentence in a judgment against him for libeling presidential aide Vladimiro Montesinos, a key government figure. Zileri's conditional prison term was increased from 12 to 18 months, then his fine of about $10,000 was increased by more than 50 per cent. Both actions were taken while the regular judge was on leave and the post was being filled by substitute Judge Jose Ludovico Vallas Navarro. Caretas had reported on the relationship between the substitute judge and the presidential aide. It has filed an action with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Caretas was taken to court by the criminal division of the Supreme Court because of a news story alleging attempted bribery involving magistrates of the criminal division. It based its defense on a tape recording and the existence of a charge before the Internal Control Agency that had not been acted on three weeks after it was introduced. The president of the Supreme Court disagreed with the charge against Caretas and it was withdrawn. Both the Huanta provincial judge and the inspector favored pigeonholing the investigation of the killling of Caretas reporter Hugo Bustios, leaving his alleged killers to go unpunished. Bustios was killed in Ayachucho where he was covering a terrorist attack. Witnesses identified three military men as the alleged killers.