19 January 2015
IAPA calls on Peruvian judiciary not to indict photographer
MIAMI, Florida (January 19, 2015)The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today urged the Peruvian justice system not to consider a criminal indictment of Associated Press photographer Rodrigo Abd, on the grounds that restrictions on the movement and work of journalists are contrary to freedom of the press.
MIAMI, Florida (January 19, 2015)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today urged the Peruvian justice system not to consider a criminal indictment of Associated Press photographer Rodrigo Abd, on the grounds that “restrictions on the movement and work of journalists are contrary to freedom of the press.” Abd has been wrongly linked to criminal proceedings initiated by the judiciary against the environmental agency Greenpeace for alleged damage to Peru’s cultural heritage after activists on December 8 covered the “Líneas de Nazca” archeological zone with large cloth letters. In a court hearing scheduled for this Wednesday it is expected that a Nazca local prosecutor, Patricia Begazo Villanueva, will call for the imprisonment of the photographer, whom she regards as an activist belonging to the environmental organization. IAPA President Gustavo Mohme, editor of the Lima, Peru, newspaper La República, declared, “We have been informed by AP that this is a journalist who was sent to the area to cover the event, so it is wrong that he be regarded as an activist.” He added, “Beyond the legal investigations into possible harm to the national heritage a reporter or photographer has the freedom, and should have the guarantees, to cover and take pictures of what occurs without any kind of hindrance or reprisals.” Claudio Paolillo, chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information and editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, said, “The judiciary should respect the work of the press and should not consider a journalist in the exercise of his profession as if he were an activist.” Paraphrasing the IAPA’s Declaration of Chapultepec and international treaties he added that “restrictions on the work the press and the displacement of journalists are contrary to freedom of the press.” In a press release Santiago Lyon, AP vice president and photography director, said that Abd is a photojournalist who works for the news agency’s Lima office. He declared, “He is committed to the AP’s highest standards of ethics and journalistic integrity…. Independent news organizations should be witnesses to news events without fear of interference or governmental reprisals.” The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 print publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida. For more information please go to http://www.sipiapa.org.