Miami (September 30, 2021). The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) rejects the order of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) of Guatemala to investigate the newspaper elPeriódico for publishing a document on alleged acts of corruption in public administration. The organization claims the CSJ must investigate the integrity of the complaint, not the whistleblowers.
On September 27, the CSJ ordered an investigation against elPeriódico for publishing on July 25 a testimony collected by the Special Prosecutor's Office Against Impunity (FECI), which reveals the alleged commission of acts of corruption in the offices headed by Consuelo Porras, attorney general and head of the Public Prosecutor's Office. The order against elPeriódico was issued after the CSJ rejected a previous investigation against Porras, filed by the organization Acción Ciudadana.
The testimony published by elPeriódico recounted the alleged manipulation of cases in the Public Prosecutor's Office, alleged collection of bribes, arbitrary designation of prosecutors to favor defendants, and trafficking of information and favors in the Prosecutor's Office.
IAPA President Jorge Canahuati, CEO of Grupo Opsa of Honduras, said: "the Court's ruling against the newspaper is a threat to freedom of the press, by inhibiting journalistic denunciation of acts of corruption and abuse of power by public officials, an action that the country's Constitution protects. We are concerned about this type of judicial harassment in other cases in Guatemala."
Carlos Jornet, chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information and editor of the newspaper La Voz del Interior, of Argentina, said: "the court order is an indirect threat to all media and journalists in Guatemala. It is a serious precedent for the practice of independent journalism and for the public's right to know about issues of general interest."
IAPA is a non-profit organization dedicated to defending and promoting freedom of the press and expression in the Americas. It comprises more than 1,300 publications from the western hemisphere; and is based in Miami, Florida, United States.