Report to the IAPA
March 28, 2020


In this period there were frozen initiatives to increase punishment of imprisonment of journalists for defamation and others that gagged the press. Meanwhile there increased the lawsuits for defamation, especially against journalists that investigate sexual abuses and cases of corruption.

In October the Peruvian Press Council and the University of the Pacific headed a campaign for the decriminalization of offenses against honor. There exists a bill that will be presented this year.

Other major events:

In November Culture Minister Francisco Petrozzi fired journalist Hugo Coya from the chairmanship of the National Radio and Television Institute of Peru, an organism to which media such as TV Peru and Radio Nacional subscribed. Coya said that he had been the victim of pressures on the part of Petrozzi to regulate the news content of the state channel.

There increased to five the number of defamation lawsuits against journalist Paola Ugaz, who for several years has been investigating sexual and psychological abuses in the religious organization Sodalicio de Vida Cristiana. The two new lawsuits were submitted by Luciano Revoredo, director of the conservative Web site La Abeja, and businessman linked to the organization Alberto Gómez de la Torre. In mid-January a judge declared that the first of them will not proceed.

In January it was learned that 16 years after reopening the investigation into the diappearance and murder of La República journalist Jaime Ayala 36 years ago the National Criminal Court set a date for the oral trial, which will begin on April 8.

The oral trial for the murder of Caretas journalist Hugo Bustíos, murdered in 1988, will be held on April 23. That will be after in April 2019 the Supreme Court annulled the ruling that absolved Daniel Urresti of being the alleged co-perpetrator of the murder. Urresti became in January 2020 the most voted-for member of the Peruvian Congress for the 2020-2021 period. The congressman asked that the parliamentary immunity be suspended.

In February it was announced that there will begin the oral trial for the murder of journalist Pedro Flores Silva, murdered in Ancash in 2011 for denouncing cases of corruption.

In late January journalist Daysi Mina Huamán, 21 years old, disappeared. To date her whereabouts remain unknown. Two weeks before her disappearance she had joined the Aycacucho news media Cable Vraem.

There continues unpunished the case of journalist David Choquepata, murdered in 2016 in his radio station cabin. The public prosecutor's office had filed the investigation into the crime.

The National Institute of Defense of Competence and the Protection of Intellectual Property ruled in favor of the weekly Hildebrandt en sus trece, headed by journalist César Hildebrandt, which sued the news agency DP Comunicaciones for violating author's rights through the practice of "clipping." DP Comunicaciones reproduced without authorization the Hildebrandt en sus trece PDFs through a database for the agency's customers for which they pay, without there being given any commissions to the media outlet.

In January journalists Hugo González and Yldefonso Espinoza of the Áncash region asked for guarantees for their lives and those of their families after announcing that they were the victims of death threats and intimidation after issuing publications on the Web site

Journalists Javier Cóndor Ticllavilca (Cusco) and Willy Villa Navarro (Ayacucho) in February requested guarantees to protect their lives and those of their families. They say they are in danger of being attacked by coca farmers.

Former president of the Huaura High Court of Justice, Víctor Raúl Reyes Alvarado, sued journalist Carlos Yofré López Sifuentes in a court in his own legal district. The first instance judge admitted the lawsuit, but declared inadmissible the evidence presented by the defense.

In another case High Court Judge Juana Mercedes Caballero García also sued the journalist in 2018 in Huaura province. The judges say that the journalist made libelous and defamatory comments on social media. However, Yofré López explained that she commented on matters of pubic interest, such as the million-dollar inheritance in a declaration qualified by the judge and the denunciation of sexual abuse that is being made against the former president of the Huaura court.

The newspaper El Comercio has open 11 cases of accusaions of defamation for a total of 109 million soles (approximately $32 million). The Grupo Epensa group has open nine cases of defamation lawsuits for a total of 4 million soles (approximately $1.2 million).

In January the National Elections Jury refused to inform the newspaper Perú21 about the identity of more than 10,000 people that filed an act of non-constitutionality against nine laws and four supreme decrees that sanction the offense of terrorism.

On March 28, a group of police and local Piura agents forcibly removed journalist Ralph Zapata, from OjoPúblico, who was coordinating the newspaper's edition at his home. Zapata was transferred to the police station for allegedly violating the curfew imposed between 8:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. to stop the expansion of the Covid-19. He was released an hour later.