Peruvian congressman of the extreme right launches initiative to demand certification of journalists

"The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) issued an alert on a bill filed in Peru that would establish mandatory membership and certification for journalists. The initiative, presented by Congresswoman Noelia Herrera, of the extreme right-wing Renovación Popular party, establishes as a mandatory requirement to practice journalism a bachelor's degree in communications or membership in the Peruvian College of Journalists.

The IAPA expressed its concern about this bill, which could represent a step backward in press freedom and contravene Inter-American jurisprudence. In 1985, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, at the request of the Costa Rican government and with the mediation of the IAPA, established that 'the compulsory membership of journalists, insofar as it impedes the access of any person to the full use of the media as a vehicle to express himself or herself or to transmit information, is incompatible with Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights.'

IAPA President Michael Greenspon stressed that the establishment of these requirements could be used by governments to decide who can be a journalist and to block critical voices. Carlos Jornet, editorial director of the newspaper La Voz del Interior, of Argentina, said that, although there are journalism colleges in some countries, these are usually voluntary."

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