Reporters Without Borders (RSF) sent an open letter to Ollanta Humala, Peru’s new president, asking him to follow through on his campaign promise to decriminalize media offenses and end existing legal cases against journalists, EFE reports.
Humala assumed the presidency July 28 after winning the second round of voting June 5. During an April 29 forum on freedom of expression, the then candidate pledged to “renounce any cases against journalists for their work.”
“Reporters Without Borders…hails your undertaking but asks you to go further,” the group said, urging him to sign a recent bill passed by Congress that replaces prison time for defamation offenses with fines and community service.
“We hope [the legislation] will be a first step towards the complete decriminalization of media offences in Peru. Your installation should mean that journalists will no longer have to fear imprisonment,” RSF said.
The organization recounted a series of journalist convictions over last several months – the majority for defamation – and said there have been unexplainable delays in the investigations into the killings of journalists Julio Castillo, Miguel Pérez Julca, and Alberto Rivera.
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.