PERU In Peru, the press is free. However, on April 5 the Executive Branch closed the Congress and partially suspended the Constitution, eliminating the legal basis for press freedom and leaving it in a precarious situation. The coup began with the takeover of the media by armed soldiers. For two days, almost all Lima media were censored. In some cases, newspapers were published with blank spaces. Radio and television programs were cut. Twenty-four journalists - employees of the newspaper Super Idolo and of Radio Red, and Radio Atena 1, all media that support the Aprista Party - were detained for 32 hours. The detention of journalist Gustavo Gorriti for nearly two days caused the greatest intemational outcry. Gorriti, a specialist in coverage of the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) guerrilla movement, Lima correspondent for El País of Madrid, and a former copy editor of the magazine Caretas, was detained in his home without apparent reason. His computer and personal files were seized. The computer was later returned with its hard disk erased. Gorriti named presidential assistant Vladimiro Montesinos as the mastermind behind the incident, which he said was a reprisal for his having published a report of an investigation of Montesinos in Caretas. In the area of regulation, the government has placed several obstacles in the way of media activity. Incidents, ineluding barring journalists from various public events, led the president of the IAPA to protest to President Fujimori, who is especially sensitive at the moment about the lack of democracy in the country. In the same vein, the Central Reserve Bank published a communique asserting its right to quit publishing in its weekly summary information it considered private. To date, this has not happened. Former Deputy Yehude Simons and seven copy editors of the weekly Cambio were detained because authorities said they had proof the newspaper was financed by the terrorist group MRTA (Tupac Amarú Revolutionary Movement). Police said they had obtained the proof following the arrest of Víctor Palay, the leader of MRTA. Meanwhile, authorities arrested 30 members of Sendero Luminoso whose mission was to publish clandestinely the newspa per El Diario. Censorship was lifted following a visit by President Fujimori to the daily El Comercio. Since then, the press has been free to express its ideas and to criticize. This was confirmed by an IAPA mission headed by President James McClatchy that went to Peru in July to investigate the press situation there. Violence against journalists continues. A 120-pound bomb exploded at TV Channel 2, killing journalist Alejandro Pérez and three watchmen. The IAPA delegation went to Channel 2 in a show of support. Sendero Luminoso was blamed for the attack. However, later versions do not rule out the possibility it was carried out by another terrorist group connected to some political party. Adolfo Izuisa, a courageously outspoken radio reporter from Juanjui, a city in the Peruvian jungle, was killed August 23, presumably by Sendero Luminoso terrorists. He had six stab wounds in the back and a deep cut in the neck. Izuisa, 40, was outspoken on the crimes and other abuses of the terrorists and drug traffickers. He had received death threats on several occasions. He left a widow and three young children. Seven months ago terrorists killed his e1dest child. Another radio journalist, Santiago Jau, owner of several stations in cities north of Lima, was killed by four Sendero Luminoso terrorists. Jau, who lived under death threats, had refused to pay protection money. Earlier, one of his properties had been bombed. In Huacho, 60 miles north of Lima, five men, believed to be paramilitary troops, kidnapped Pedro Yauri, former corespondent of the Lima newspaper El Nacional. The kidnapping occurred August 25; to date nothing has been heard from him and it is feared he has been killed. He had been accused of defending terrorism after three members of Sendero Luminoso entered the radio while he was broadcasting a political commentary and forced him to air three cassettes containing subversive propaganda. A judge ruled there was no reason to bring charges. These four cases brought to 35 the number of working journalists killed or missing since 1980 when the outbreak of violence began in the country. The recent capture of Sendero Luminoso leader Abimael Guzmán could be the first step toward lowering the number of journalists being slain by terrorists. Parts of the Penal Code and Supreme Rights relating to press freedom remain in effect, des pite opinions in favor of free speech expressed by representatives of the executive, legislative and judicial branches. The turbulent political situation in the country has made an acceptable solution more difficult. But that has not halted renewed demands that the government, which now has legislative power as well, either repeal or amend the relevant e1auses. The Supreme Court upheld the convietion of Enrique Zileri, editor of the magazine Caretas, on charges of Iibeling Vladimiro Montesinos, aide to President Fujimori and his right arm among the intelligentsia of the country. The Supreme Court ruling had no basis whatsoever, and the two judgments from lower courts were on different grounds. There were concerns about the development of the case from the beginning. There were three reasons for this: 1. The complaint had been lodged nine months after the alleged libel. (He had called Montesinos "Rasputin.") 2. The accusation was made the same week that Caretas was to go to press with an issue that included a cover story on Montesinos. 3. In the notification, but not in the sentence, the judge mentioned Article 317 of the Penal Procedure Code, which allows the judge to prevent the media from publishing information on specified tapies or pea pie connected with a crime. However, in this case it was extended to include the alleged victim of libel. These facts indicate that the motive of the accusation was not to get legal satisfaction but to block the publication of the Caretas report - which it did. Because of this ruling, whieh sets what is seen as a highly dangerous precedent for press freedom, Zileri has brought the case before the Inter-American Human Rights Commission so that it can be heard by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.