Reunión de Medio Año

Puebla, México

8 al 11 de marzo del 2013

In 2012 almost one hundred cases of aggressive acts against journalists and media were recorded. Just in the first quarter of this year some twenty additional cases have been reported. Many of the actions occurred in the context of social protests, particularly against mining, perpetrated by the police or the demonstrators themselves. The number of cases in which the police were the main aggressors against journalism is disquieting. In the context of court cases in progress and the struggle against the impunity of crimes against the press, the results continue to be discouraging. In November, 2010, the National Prosecutor’s Office determined that the murders, serious injuries, abductions and extortion against journalists are the province of the supra-provincial prosecutors of Lima or the National Penal Department. Particularly important will be the development of the judicial case in the crime of journalist Pedro Flores Silva, of Channel 6 Television of Casma, in the department of Áncash, murdered on September 7, 2011. In spite of the broadening of its faculties, the Prosecutor’s Office has still not formulated an indictment and the case remains unpunished. The courts case is also pending of journalist Alberto Rivera Fernández, whose campaign whose case against immunity has been promoted by the IAPA and the Council of the Press for almost a decade now after his murder on April 21, 2004. Rivera Fernández was the host of the program “Transparencia” on radio station Frecuencia Oriental de Pucallpa. The material authors of the crime were convicted, but not the ilnstigators and in the oral trial against the latter, a number of irregularities were revealed, for which reason it was annulled three times by the Supreme Court, which ordered a new trial. However, on May 10, 2012, the Third Penal Section for Free Defendants of the Superior Court of Lima absolved the former provincial mayor of Coronel Portillo, Luis Valdez Villacorta and Solio Ramírez, a removed judge of the Superior Court of Ucayali, in spite of new evidence and testimonies presented by the defense of the families of the radio journalist. Following that, senior prosecutor Jorge Chávez Cotrina and the defense of the journalist solicited vacating the decision that absolves the supposed instigators. On September 20, 2012, the case went to the Transitory Penal Section of the Supreme Court and later, on October 5, 2012, it was taken by the Second Supreme Penal Prosecutor’s Office under Prosecutor Pablo Sánchez Velarde, who has still not issued his decision in the case. The most serious events were: On February 5, journalist Juan Carlos Yaya Salcedo, host of the program “Sin Escape” (No Escape) broadcast by Radio Max in Cañete, 78 miles south of Lima, was shot by unidentified assailants. On January 14, Nixon Solórzano Bernales, host of the television program “Alerta Ciudadana” (Citizen Alert), was stabbed by an unidentified person in Cajamarca, 375 miles north of Lima. In numerous cases of aggression public officials were held responsible. In this adverse climate, the Commission on Justice and Human Rights of the Congress held debates and consultation on a bill of law, No. 1712/2012-CR. The initiative was submitted by congressman Agustín Molina Martínez and the parliamentary group Gana Perú in November 2012 and it proposes incorporating into Chapter VIII of the Penal Code articles 169-A and 169-B that penalize several types of trangression of freedom of expression, the press and information, including harm against technical instruments for practice of the profession; it calls for a penalty of deprivation of freedom for between one and thirty years, the latter extreme sentence for murdering a journalist. In legal terms, the Peruvian Executive promulgated Legislative Decree No. 1129 on December 7 that regulates the System of National Defense, “which constitutes a grave backward step in terms of transparency and access to public information and it prevents oversight by the citizens, including the press,” denounced the Peruvian Press Council. This decree states in its art. 12: “Agreements, records, recordings, transcriptions and, in general, all information or document that is generated in the area of matters referred to as Security and National Defense are of a secret nature.” It establishes secrecy as a rule, unconstitutionally, without indicating deadlines or mechanisms of classification or declassification, thus violating the mandate of the Law on Transparency and Access to Public Information, Law No. 27806, which stipulates criteria for classifying information, as well as terms and forms for its declassification. Thus, the second paragraph of the First Complementary and Final Order of Legislative Decree No. 1129 establishes that any person who, by reason of his or her position or function, becomes aware of classified information of a secret, reserved, or confidential nature, related to Security and National Defense, is obligated to keep the corresponding secrecy. It establishes that anyone who reveals it could be charged for the crimes of Disclosure of National Secrets or Disclosure of Secret Information of the National Intelligence system, typified, respectively, in articles 330 and 331-A of the Penal Code, including journalists who publish, for example, irregularities in acquisitions and purchases in the context of the regulation of the System of National Defense. Prime Minister Juan Jiménez Mayor has opened the possibility of presenting alternative proposals in both cases. Other notable events in this period: On October 6, journalist Rosario Huayanca Zapata received anonymous death threats and an envelope containing bullets was sent to her home in Ica. On October 12, the News Photographers Association (AFPP) complained about presidential photographer Job Rosales constantly attacking the press. On October 14, journalists Mariana Vásquez Ruidías, Eddyn Nole Chero and Eber Espinoza Martínez were attacked in Pirua by Janio Juárez Moreno, a professor at the INIF 48 college for women. Espinoza Martínez was also run over by the professor’s vehicle. On October 22, Junior Aponte Osorio, editor of the Lima newspaper El Picante, was attacked by officials of the Huaura Municipality in the presence of Mayor Jacinto Romero Trujillo and his council members, and he was then arrested. On October 23, César Estrada Chuquilín, a journalist with the program “Pulso Informativo” (News Beat) broadcast by the Cajamarca radio station Radio Coremarca, was attacked by police officers who were guarding the Conga mining project. On October 25 and 26, during coverage of a police raid to close down the La Parada central market in the La Victoria neighborhood of Lima reporters, new photographers and cameramen from various news media were threatened, beaten and assaulted by local vendors and delinquents. Hugo Alejos, a photographer with the magazine Caretas, and Luis García, a TV Perú reporter, had their cameras seized and they were attacked with stones and glass, causing serious injuries. Also victims of the violence were América TV reporter Peter Román and his cameraman; news photographer with the newspaper El Comercio, Alessandro Currarino; Caretas reporter Israel Guzmán, and the reporting team of the ATV television channel’s newscast “Primera Noticia.” Canal N television reporter Luis Corrales put his own safety at risk when he went to help an injured police officer that the mob had beaten up. On October 31, Úrsula Pinedo, a journalist with radio station La Ribereña in Tumbes, was beaten and given a death threat by Pilar Páucar, an official with the Tumbes regional government’s Institutional Image Office and four other women. On November 13, the Supreme Court of Chile extended the Fujimori extradition order in the case of certain newspapers. In December, 2012 the Peruvian Press Council manifested its concern over the implications for the exercise of freedom of expression and the press, related to the decision of the National Penitentiary Institute (INPE) to turn down the request presented by former president Fujimori to be interviewed by the news director of RPP Noticias, of the RPP Group, due to the fact that the request for an interview occurred in a political context in which there exists a partisan agenda that seeks granting of a humanitarian pardon to the ex president. The institution as a whole does not support the request; nonetheless, it considered that the decision of the INPE implied restrictions on freedom of expression and opinion and the citizen’s right to information. On January 6, jounalist Cinthia Martínez Amaya and cameraman Richter Castro Girón of Piura, were attacked and assaulted by a mob as they were conducting an investigation about presumed trafficking on communal lands. In January, Marco Zileri, editor of the magazine Caretas, was given a suspended two-year prison sentence and ordered to pay 200,000 soles (about $77,300) in civil damages for the alleged crime of defamation of Javier Reátegui Roselló, secretary general of the political party Perú Posible. Caretas in February 2011 had warned of the risk of money laundering by drug traffickers in the presidential election campaign then under way. The weekly mentioned a family relationship between Reátegui Roselló and Reátegui Reyna, close relatives and collaborators of the Sánchez Paredes family, the object of an intensive police investigation into the illicit drug trade. On January 11, José Luis Napoleón Márquez, a reporter with the weekly El Búho, was convicted by the Arequipa Criminal Court and prevented from lodging an appeal with the local Appeals Court in legal proceedings against him on a charge of libeling Percy Constantino Chocano Núñez, an official of San Agustín University Postgraduate Department in Arequipa. Due to a lack of money Márquez could not pay the court fees and his appeal was declared inadmissible. On January 14, Níxon Solórzano Bernales, host of the program “Alerta Ciudadana” (Citizen Alert) broadcast by Canal 25 television in Cajamarca province, reported that a person attacked him with a knife as he was leaving the TV station, in reprisal for his news reports naming his attacker as having been involved in a violent family dispute. On January 17, cotton growers guilds complained of attacks by police officers on reporters covering a demonstration by cotton growers in Ica. On February 3, Robert Ascate del Águila, a journalist with Antares Televisión, was assaulted the mayor of Banda de Shilcayo, Antonio Neyra León, and two local police officers, in reprisal for having followed and taped the mayor while he was using an official pickup truck. On February 10, actor Renato Rossini beat reporter John Cano and cameraman Anthony Cordero of the program “Domingo al Día” (Sunday Up-to-Date) broadcast by América Televisión. On February 12, journalist Manuel Calloquispe, correspondent of the news agency InfoRegión and host of the program “La Cara del Pueblo” (The Face of the People) aired by Americana TV in Puerto Maldonado, Madre de Dios province, reported that while he was broadcasting a report denouncing the negative impact of illegal mining in the Aguas Negras district he received a telephone call in which he was insulted and threatened. On February 23, the murder occurred of news photographer Luis Choy of El Comercio at the door of his home in the Lima district of Pueblo Libre. According to early police investigations, the crime is not linked to his newspaper work as an experienced photographer; in this regard, it is urgent and necessary that such investigation conclude in order to determine precisely the real motives of the murder of this journalist.