In response to a demand that journalists violate secrecy of sources and other anti-press freedom incidents IAPA considers sending international mission to that country
MIAMI, Florida (July 13, 2018)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today expressed its concern at actions by the Public Prosecutor's Office and Congress of Peru requiring journalists to reveal their news sources, which "represents a setback to press freedom in the country."
The Peruvian Congress's Audit and Accounting Committee called the director of the Legal Defense Institute (IDL-Reporteros), Gustavo Gorriti, and the producer of the television analysis program "Panorama," Rossana Cueva Mejía, to an extraordinary session yesterday (July 12) to "inform on the manner and circumstances" of how they obtained audios and documents disseminated early this week in which there were revealed acts of corruption and influence trafficking that involved members of the Judicial Branch and the National Judiciary Council.
The chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Roberto Rock, declared, "The actions of the Public Prosecutor's Office and Congress aimed at seizing material gathered as part of the journalistic work and the ordering that confidential news sources be revealed amount to negative precedents for the investigation and the oversight role that corresponds to the press in a democracy."
Rock, editor of the Mexican news portal La Silla Rota, added, "The use of confidential sources constitutes an essential tool of good journalism and revealing the sources creates a negative effect against those that have and wish to disclose information of public interest." He said that the IAPA is considering sending an international mission to Peru given the recent legal incidents and administrative procedures affecting press freedom.
The Congress summons, which also required the handover of the original materials, was preceded by the intervention on July 10 of a public prosecutor and four police officers at the offices of the IDL-Reporteros for the seizure of journalistic information. The Internal Control Supreme Public Prosecutor's Office demanded that the journalists reveal the sources and hand over the unedited audio material "within three days" and if not done they could be accused of the offense of failing to obey the authority.
Rock said that the Declaration of Chapultepec and the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, among other international documents on freedom of the press and of expression, state that no journalist can be required to reveal his or her sources of information or to hand over professional and personal notes and files.
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 publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida.