During this period there continued the deterioration in press freedom. Beginning in September, there having been overcome the political crisis that produced the departure of Prime Minister Fernando Zavala and the reshuffling of the cabinet, there was recorded a series of hostile acts against the press, which are added to poor police investigations into the murder of journalists committed previously in various parts of the country.
Of concern are legislative initiatives linked to the practice of journalism and to the news media presented by the opposition and majority party in Congress, Fuerza Popular.
Major events during this period:
In April the alternate spokesman of Fuerza Popular, Héctor Becerril, and nine more Fujimorist members of Congress, endorsed a bill that would establish the obligation of companies "that have as their principal objective the production, publication and distribution of daily newspapers, weeklies, magazines or lottery tickets" to allocate 2% of their annual sales to a "delivery boys' national social security fund." This would finance the "special regime of delivery boys' pensions" and the "contributive regime of the social security system."
On June 20 Fujimorist Congressmen Miguel Castro and Carlos Domínguez submitted a bill that would amend the reach of Legislative Decree No. 829 through which there was created the National Radio and Television Institute of Peru – IRTP – in 2006. The initiative, subscribed to by current Congress leader Luis Galarreta and other representatives of Fuerza Popular, would require that 30% of the daily programming of the state television give equal priority to coverage of news of the Executive Branch as to that coming from the Legislative and Judicial Branches, as well as to "educational, informational and cultural contents that promote the national identity."
On June 28 Congress unanimously approved the Ruling of Bill No.772/2016-CR, an initiative of Congressman Marco Miyashiro Arashiro of the Fuerza Popular Parliamentary Group that would amend Articles 2, 10, 17 and 38 of Legislative Decree 1141 on the strengthening and modernization of the National Intelligence System – SINA – and the National Intelligence directorate – DINI, with the objective of regulating digital security. It is underlined that the Intelligence Commission incorporated various observations into the original proposal presented by specialists called upon from the private and public sectors. Despite the corrections the bill continues to give special pre-eminence to the DINI sphere of action, so it would correspond to the government to draw up a national cyber security policy.
In September the unrequested decision of the members of the Congress's Parliamentary Directorate to change the name of the Gustavo Mohme Llona conference room that since 2001 honored the founder of the newspaper La República, to "Heroic Defenders of Democracy" was perceived by some sectors as a reprisal against the Grupo La República group.
Some days later Congressmen of various parties sent a letter to the Congress leader asking that the decision be reconsidered.
On October 16, during a press conference, the leader of Congress asked companies to withdraw their advertising from journalist Rafael León and the magazine Caretas. He described as "a cowardly attack" the style and comments with which the journalist refers to several opposition members of Congress in his column "La China Tudela" in Caretas, under the pseudonym "Lorena Tudela Loveday." The Congressman's attitude recalls the advertising boycott of Caretas by the government of Alberto Fujimori.
"It is a satirical column, a caricature, and should be judged on that basis. It may not please, at times it could be sarcastic, but it is a caricature," said Marcos Zileri, editor of Caretas.
On May 16 the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Edison Lanza, warned about the lack of information on the investigations by the National Police into the murder of the host of the program "La voz del pueblo" (The People's Voice), Hernán Choquepata, shot to death by hired killers in his radio station booth. He also asked for information about journalist Yrineo Martínez Purihuamán, who died in October 2016 after being shot while covering a clash between members of a community and land grabbers in Lambayeque province.
As regards the trial for the murder of Hugo Bustios of Caretas at the hands of members of the military in Huanta, Ayacucho, in 1988 chief prosecutor Luis Landa Burgos accused former Interior Minister Daniel Urresti of being the co-perpetrator. He said he was accusing him of partial responsibility, but new evidence indicates that there was military planning in the attack on the journalist.
The ruling by the 16th Criminal Court of Lima that absolved journalist Fernando Valencia Osorio from the offense of aggravated defamation represents a positive precedent for press freedom. Valencia was facing suspended punishment of 1 year and 8 months of privation of freedom, the payment of 100,000 new soles in civil damages and a 1,900 new soles fine, for the publication of a headline in a media outlet.
Regarding the controversy concerning the acquisition of the Grupo EPENSA group by the Grupo El Comercio group, both the Grupo La República group as PRENSMART and GEC are asking the Judicial Branch to resolve the basis of this controversy as soon as possible and not continue to incur a delay that for a time now has exceeded reasonable delay. In line with that, both groups supported the resolution approved during the IAPA General Assembly in Mexico, calling upon the Judicial Branch to resolve the controversy as soon as possible.
On September 8, during a police raid to seize chemical goods and gasoline used for illegal mining in the Mazuko district, Manuel Calloquispe, reporter and editor of the program "La voz del pueblo" (The People's Voice) broadcast by Canal 33 television in the Madre de Dios region, was insulted, threatened and attacked with stones by a mob. He blamed mafia members linked to the trafficking of goods and people.
On September 2 Romina Caballero, reporter of Canal N television, said she was attacked at a teachers union demonstration.
Previously Mónica Gismondi Chauca, news director of the online newspaper Chimbotenlinea.com reported staff of the Attorney General's Office had warned her in a press release that they would initiate legal actions for disseminating "information of a reserved nature" concerning an investigation into a group of alleged hit men linked to a land trafficking mafia.