PERU The profession of journalism and distribution without restraints of newspapers and magazines have theoretical freedom in Peru. However, four journalists have been murdered in the last six months, bringing the number of journalists killed in terrorist actions to 30 since 1980, when such activities began in Peru. Luis Morales Ortega was shot in the main plaza of Ayacucho July 14. It is presumed that the murderers were members of the para-military group "Commando for Anti-terrorist Struggle," who had threatened the journalist with death four days earlier. Morales was fingered as the correspondent for the magazine El Diario, the official Shining Path guerrilla group news organ, edited clandestinely. Journalist Gustavo Zuniga Ucharico, secretary general of Cambio 90 in Puno was also murdered recently. Zuniga hosted the radio program "Report to the News." It is presumed that the assailants were members of Shining Path. Journalist Melissa Alfaro Mendez died two weeks ago, victim of a letter bomb. The letter was addressed to the managing editor of Cambio, a leftist weekly, organ for the terrorist group Tupac Amaru. Alfaro worked as a journalist for the weekly. The authors of the crime are still not known. They could be anti-subversive para-military groups or terrorist groups engaged in their own internal disputes. On October 10, 29-year-old journalist Antonio Huaccachi Chavez was shot in the heart. He was the editor of the magazine Cal y Canto and president of the Circle of Tourism Journalists of Ayacucho. Preliminary investigations indicate that the murderers were members of Shining Path. In other developments relating to the murder of journalists, Huanta trial judge Moises Ochoa Giron opened proceedings against two army officials accused of killing Caretas journalist Hugo Bustios three years ago. This was interpreted as an important step towards the judgement of the implicated military officers, Commander Victor La Vera Hernandez, the political military chief of Huanta, and Major Amador Vidal Sambento, accused of physically carrying out the crime. They say they cannot be subject to civilian trial since they had already been acquitted in military court. It is of great concern that after rejecting their writ, Ochoa was dismissed from his pOSition by the Higher Court of Huanta. Meanwhile, military justice had hurried to acquit the implicated officials in order to impede the march of civil justice. The past semester has witnessed a strange escalation in legal actions against journalists. Caretas magazine editor Enrique Zileri was denounced by former captain Vladimiro Montesinos, a person with close ties to the presidency and linked publicly with the intelligence service. As a result, a judge opened hearings against Zileri and prohibited Caretas from publishing any articles about Montesinos. This is possible in Peru because, during the period of the military government, two articles of the Code of Criminal Procedures were modified. These articles concerned apology for crime, and the modifications continue on the books. This permitted the judges to force an interpretation - and to extend to press crimes the prohibition to publish information considered apologetic to some crime. As a result, anyone who attempts to impede the publication of information can simply denounce the journalist for defamation and, if he has the judge's favor, can prohibit any type of publication. The apparent underlying problem - the accusation of defamation - is now in the Supreme Court, after Zileri was ruled against in two previous instances. The articles in question will be superseded in 1992, when the new code of criminal proceedings goes into effect. In another case, Giga magazine editor Francisco Igartua was also sued for defamation on grounds of spreading falsehoods in an article about alleged irregularities in the Social Security. The information had come from a congressional investigative committee. At the request of the magazine, the congressman making the accusations of irregularities ratified his charges in writing. However, the trial judge found against Igartua. The Correctional Tribunal reversed the previous sentence, based on the fact that it is the function of journalism to inform the public. A group of prisoners, presumably Shining Path terrorists, brought a writ of habeas corpus against Expreso editor Manuel d'Ornellas. They denounced him for the publication of an article about a prison riot. Shining Path also attempted similar pressure against the editor of the magazine Giga with a writ of habeas corpus, filed as a result of information published in the magazine. The Constitutional Commission of the Chamber of Deputies said it supported a bill, which proposes to make law the right to professional journalistic confiendtiality. The bill was sponsored by deputy Pedro Cateriano Bellido. Up until now, this right is only recognized in Peru in the Journalists Colegio code of ethics. Free access to information has not improved in the past six months. In practice, a great part of the bureaucracy continues to consider itself owners of information, giving access only when it deems it convenient. A hopeful development was the approval of Senator Humberto Carranza Piedra's request for the executive branch to enact measures to guarantee free access to public information. However, his petition was not heeded. Journalistic coverage in certain areas of the country continues to be impeded by forces of law and order, after the press made denunciations of human rights violations. In Tarapoto, police fired shots in the air near journalist Cecilia Valenzuela of the television program "En Persona" to try to persuade her to stop filming. On October 20, Nicolas Sanlucar, director of the program La Revista Dominical carried by TV 4, said that he and R6mulo Robato, chief of security for the channel, received death threats after airing on October 13 a tape of a conversation between ex-president Alan Garcia and two legislators from his party. Restrictions on movements of journalists at the Lima airport are also noteworthy. There is great concern for eventual restrictions and risks for press freedom as a result of several articles in the new criminal code For example, newspapers will not be able to maintain files on many public personalities, because article 157 bans the keeping of files containing political references. There are more than 10 articles in which freedom of the press, to a greater or lesser degree, could be infringed. A definitive report will be presented at the next Assembly reviewing this topic and possible legal corrective steps to be promoted. These provisions are being studied, and will be presented to the assembly in a definitive report. At the same time, changes in the articles, if needed, will be called for.