Judge sentences journalist to two years in prison for defamation in Peru

Peruvian journalist Hans Francisco Andrade Chávez, ex-host of a news program on the local affiliate channel of América TV in Chepén, in northern Perú, was sentenced to two years in prison for defamation, according to the Press and Society Institute (IPYS in Spanish). Andrade is the most recent journalist in Peru to be convicted of libel. In April, journalist Paul Garay was sentenced to three years in jail for defamation of a prosecutor.

The sentence also requires the journalist to pay damages and a fine because of the statements of a coordinator of a political party that were aired on the news. The coordinator publicly accused the assistant manager of the Public Services department of the city of Chepén, Juan José Vásquez, of threatening her with death, explained the newspaper La Primera.

According to the National Association of Journalists in Peru (ANP in Spanish), the judge took as proof the news segment where only the program host, and not the interviewed subjects, appeared. Also taken into consideration were program transcripts of critiques and opinions about the conduct and image of Vásquez, which ANP said were part of the legitimate exercise of freedom of information and expression in the country.

In Peru, authorities frequently use libel laws to bring journalists to court. In 2010, journalists convicted of defamation include José Alejandro GodoySegundo CarrascalFernando Santos Rojas and Enrique Lazo Flores.

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.