This period, marked by a prolonged and turbulent political campaign, a growing climate of intolerance of the press’s watchdog role, evidenced by the murder of three newsmen in less than three months, leaves a negative balance regarding the defense of freedom of expression and of the press. Beginning in April, during the period that precedes the weeks subsequent to the government handover ceremony in late July and to the date on which the candidate elected on the second round of the elections, Ollanta Humala Tasso, assumed the presidency the press has put itself right in the middle. There was an enormous increase in cases of violent hostility, death threats, physical and verbal attacks, judicial harassment and intimidation of journalists and news media in various parts of the country. During this period and outside of the electoral context three journalists were murdered, while impunity in cases of crimes against journalists has continued unabated. On May 3, Julio Castillo Narváez, host of the program “Ollantay,” broadcast by Radio Ollantay radio station in the city of Virú, in Libertad province, died after unidentified assailants shot him as he having lunch at a local restaurant. He was a strong critic of the conduct of municipal, provincial and regional officials. It was reported that he had been receiving death threats, both veiled and frontal, which increased in recent days, because of his broadcasting denunciations of wrongdoing allegedly committed in the La Libertad regional administration and the danger inherent in the proliferation of common criminals in the area. On September 6, Pedro Alonso Flores Silva, host of the news program “Visión Agraria” aired by Canal 6 television in Ancash region, was murdered by a hooded man who shot him twice, seriously wounding him. He died from his injuries on the morning of Thursday, September 8. On September 17, some 20 police officers arrested, in the city of Casma, a criminal known as “El Viejo” (The Old Man), who was believed to have been the one who planned the murder. He was understood to have hired the hitman, identified as Emilio Siriaco Agreda, aged 21, to frighten Flores Silva, but who allegedly went further and killed him. On September 14, José Luis Oquendo Reyes, host of the program “Sin Fronteras” broadcast by BTV Canal 45 television and a building foreman, was murdered by three unidentified assailants in the Rosedal township. He died from his wounds before he could receive medical treatment. The Exploratory Investigation Court of the Pueblo Nuevo district ordered the preventive detention of Teobaldo Gilberto Fajardo Ormeño on a charge brought by the District Attorney’s Office that he was one of those allegedly responsible for Oquendo Reyes’ death. In another development, two cases occurred that illustrate the intolerance shown during the electoral process. On May 6, Jaime de Althaus, host of the program “La Hora N” aired by Canal N television, was attacked as he was leaving the TV station when nearly 100 people taking part in a demonstration called for on social media, supporters of the Gana Perú political party and its presidential candidate, Ollanta Humala, surrounded his car, preventing it from moving. Despite the apparent participation of its supporters the Gana Perú party condemned the action. Some days later, on May 11, the journalist reported having received telephoned death threats. That same day, César Lévano, a reporter, and Arturo Belaúnde, editor and chairman of the board of directors of the newspaper La Primera, said that an unidentified man delivered to the paper two funeral wreaths bearing cards signed – falsely – by the Peruvian Press Council and the Press and Society Institute (IPYS). La Primera called the incident an attempt to teach the paper a lesson for its editorial support of Ollanta Humala’s presidential bid. Also contributing to the polarization of society has been the unusual and antagonistic role that many media and individual journalists had regarding the election campaign. Some media were accused of misinforming the public with the aim of favoring a candidate and of making unbalanced electoral coverage. In this regard, a number of journalists complained of having been censored, pressured or fired from their posts for having refused to take the side of the candidate supported by the executives and owners of the places where they worked. Among the cases mentioned is that of the dismissal of the general news producer, Patricia Montero, and the producer of the news program “De 6 a 9,” José Jara, both from Canal N. Representatives of the company that runs that channel said that the firings were the result of changes made in the production processes of the channel. They justified the move by naming Mr. Fabricio Torres del Águila as news director of Canal N. Later, a discussion broke out over the non-renewal of the contract of journalist Rosa Maria Palacios, hostess of “Prensa Livre,” one of the oldest programs in the country broadcast by América Televisión. Several journalistic sources ventured the opinion that in practice it constituted an act of censorship of the newswoman. Spokespersons from the channel reported that the expiration of Mrs. Palacio’s contract was the result of a decision to restructure their on-screen programming. Various cases were also reported in the provinces. Among these were complaints of pressure and censorship that led to the resignation of the hosts of news programs broadcast by Líder radio station in Arequipa, Federico Rosado, Jesúa Coa and Jorge Álvarez; in Huancayo of the reporter with the Sunday magazine Parada 4, aired by the local América TV affiliate, José Alberto Soriano; and of Yuri Castro Sánchez, a commentator on the program “Réplica” aired in La Libertad, whom executives of the Diplomat radio station had invited to temporarily step down from the program. Finally, in the Huánuco region journalist Elvis Italo Guillermo reported that he was the object of death threats following the shutdown of his program aired by Canal 4 JSV television, and Walter Altamirano Vásquez said his program “Palabra Viva” on La Caribeña radio in Jaén, Cajamarca, was cancelled for political reasons. In July, also calling people’s attention was the irrational interpretation that several special electoral boards gave to legislation concerning the publishing of pre-election surveys and technical details of each that had been adopted by the National Elections Board in December 2010. In past elections media had agreed to publish a comprehensive summary of each survey in their print editions and the extensive technical details on their Web sites. For this reason, there was great concern when a number of newspapers – among them La Razón, Gestión, Correo, El Comercio, Perú 21, Trome, La Nación, Expreso, La República, Extra, El Popular and Del País – were summonsed by the Peru National Police and charged by the Public Prosecutor’s Office with having infringed the electoral regulations. Among these, the case of La Razón merits special attention as notwithstanding the fact that the publication of the technical record did not amount to a criminal offense its editor, Uri Ben Schnuel, was charged with the offense of resisting authority, on the basis of Article 368 of the Penal Code. In response to representations made to it by the Peruvian Press Council the National Elections Board agreed to allow publication of the technical record on later dates than the established deadline, and according to reports by late September there were few cases left to be resolved, but this situation clearly showed that the electoral regulations need to be reviewed and reformulated. A suspended sentence of two years in prison was handed down to the editor of the newspaper Perú 21, Fritz Dubois, and its correspondent in Arequipa for referring in an op-ed piece to alleged misconduct of a female candidate for Congress in the 2011 elections. Journalist Paul Garay Ramírez, director and host of the program “Polémica” aired by Visión 47 TV and the program “La Voz del Pueblo” broadcast on La Exitosa radio, was sued by Pucallpa State Attorney Agustín López Cruz who claimed he was libeled in November and December by such defamatory phrases as “I have heard that provincial public prosecutors come to Pucallpa to make money” and being called an “erotic dwarf” and “an undesirable person.” In a ruling on April 19 by Jesús Morote Mescua, the judge of the 2nd Criminal Court in Coronel Portillo province, journalist Garay Ramírez was sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay 3,500 soles in damages. This was out of line with Peruvian case law, which in cases of libel in the first instance carry a suspended sentence. Since then Morote Mescua has remained in custody. On July 11 he was transferred from Pucallpa to the Potracancha jail in Huánuco at the request of the Pucallpa prison director, on the argument that it lacked security conditions. Finally, on the orders of Lima’s 3rd Criminal Court on July 13 he was moved to the Castro Castro prison in the Peruvian capital, to testify as a witness in the trial of former Coronel Portillo mayor Luis Valdez Villacorta on a charge of having murdered journalist Alberto Rivera Fernández in 2004 in Pucallpa. On July 15 he gave testimony and to date remains behind bars at the Castro Castro prison. In April, during a forum titled “Presidential Candidates and Freedom of Expression in Peru” held by the Peruvian Press Council and the Press and Society Institute, Ollanta Humala declared that “at no time” had he planned to take legal action against any news media outlet. “My conduct has been in these cases not to take legal action, despite having been the victim of these attitudes that you describe as ‘devastating.’” He added, “While the President in extreme cases could have recourse to the judiciary, we understand that that would not be the best thing and his power is greater than the media or person that criticizes him.” Similarly, the then candidate from the Gana Perú party spoke about the distribution of broadcast licenses, an issue that aroused heated debate. “The role of the government in the transition from analog to digital television is that of guaranteeing equitable distribution of new frequencies and transparency, precision and clarity in such distribution, avoiding partisanship and politicization … Every procedure and decision regarding the grant of licenses must be supervised by an independent regulatory body, in which there is the participation of regional governments, civil society, journalists, media owners and the government.”