On 10th anniversary of Peruvian journalist‘s killing, IAPA calls Supreme Court to solve case

By Samantha Badgen

The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) asked Peru’s Supreme Court to clear up the murder of radio journalist Alberto Rivera Fernández and to bring those who ordered the crime to justice.

Rivera Fernández, who was also president of the Federation of Journalists in Uyacali, was murdered in 2004, a day after he revealed on his program the names of several public employees who supposedly were involved in criminal activity.

The actual murderers have already been sentenced, but in May 2012, Luis Valdés Villacorta, former mayor of Coronel Portillo, a municipality in Ucayali, was absolved of being the alleged mastermind behind the crime, along with Solio Ramírez Garay, former manager of the municipality.

Both were mentioned in Rivera Fernández’s accusations regarding alleged acts of corruption.

On April 25, the Supreme Court will decide if it will annul or uphold the sentence that absolved Villacorta and Ramírez Garay of the alleged crime.

Claudio Paolillo, president of IAPA’s Freedom of Press and Information Commission, asked the court to quickly resolve the sentence so as not to let the crime go unpunished.

IAPA and the Peruvian Press Council consider the case emblematic for the situation of the press in the country. Both organizations have been active in bringing awareness to the case, sending missions to the place where the murder was committed, visiting legislators and other officials, as well as conducting public campaigns against impunity and violence against journalists.

The National Press Association of Peru had already expressed its worries over the legal proceedings against Portillo and VIllacorta in 2011.

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.