By Liliana Honorato
On Wednesday, June 6, the National Association of Journalists of Peru reported that on May 24, a judge from the department of Ancash emitted a sentence against a journalist for alleged defamation of a public official of the province. The sentence was suspended as long as the journalist follows certain rules, including "rectifying" damages within 15 days.
Journalist Alejandro Villanueva Aldave, who also was sentenced to pay $1,118 to the defendant, had criticized a public official of the city of Huaylas, Félix Alberto Pohl Luna, in his program “The News Suitcase,” broadcast by the radio station Sideral, for alleged irregularities, reported the ANP.
When Peruvian journalists criticize public officials, they are at risk of being sued for defamation. For example, on Tuesday, June 5, in Lima, Peru, two journalists were sentenced to two years of prison and fined about $22,000 for defaming the former Interior Minister, Antonio Ketín Vidal Herrera.
In November 2011, Peruvian journalist Teobaldo Meléndez Fachín was sentenced to three years in prison for defamation, although in this case, the Supreme Court voided the sentence in March of 2012.
Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.