Peruvian journalist sentenced to 18 months in prison for libel

By Maira Magro

Enrique Lazo Flores, editor of the newspaper La Región, in the southern city of Ilo, Moquegua, was accused of attacking the honor of a regional politician Renato Ascuña Chavera, the Crónica Viva site reports. The prison sentence was suspended, but organizations denounced it as a serious threat to freedom of expression.

The lawsuit questioned a series of articles about Ascuña Chavera's suspension from his post, for indiscipline and breach of duties, as well as criticism of his conduct published by the newspaper La Región, Crónica Viva says.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Latin American and Caribbean Federation of Journalists criticized the decision. "Journalism is only free and democratic if public administration and employees of the government can be an object of public information," says Paco Audije, IFJ's coordinator for Latin America.

Read more on the case at the blog Ilo en Hora Clave.

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.