The IAPA condemns the espionage of journalists in Peru


Miami (December 29, 2023) - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) condemned the espionage of journalists in Peru, ordered by the authority of the Attorney General's Office with the intention of criminalizing the press, according to reports published in the local press.

IAPA President Roberto Rock condemned the spying on Peruvian journalists and stated that this practice "puts the work of the media at risk and compromises their sources of information." Rock, from La Silla Rota in Mexico, called on authorities to "investigate, identify, and sanction those responsible for this order that undermines press freedom."

Journalist and editor with La República newspaper, César Romero, and his family, as well as columnist and director of the Sudaca website, Juan Carlos Tafur, were under investigation, video surveillance, and police monitoring between April 5 and November 23, on the orders of prosecutor Andy Rodríguez, during the tenure of suspended Attorney General Patricia Benavides Vargas, as revealed by La República.

Romero said that he learned about the surveillance on November 27 when he received an official document at his home from another prosecutor, Cristhian Alfaro Cáceres, notifying him that the investigation was closed "due to the absence of any revealing evidence or criminal activity."

The President of the Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Carlos Jornet, added that "this is a case of abuse of power by the Attorney General who endorsed investigations against journalists for their critical editorial line." Jornet, from La Voz del Interior, Argentina, emphasized that "spying on journalists goes against inter-American jurisprudence and is a practice that unfortunately occurs in various countries in the region."

The surveillance of journalists is believed to be linked to their investigations into Benavides Vargas's decisions at the Attorney General's Office regarding the dismantling of Human Rights prosecutor's offices and an inquiry into alleged plagiarism of her master's and doctoral theses, according to local press reports. Benavides Vargas is being investigated for an alleged case of influence peddling and political favors.

Rock and Jornet recalled that such practices not only violate the right to privacy enshrined in the American Convention on Human Rights but also increase the danger of promoting self-censorship in the press.

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.