Miami, – The Inter American Press Association (SIP) denounced Monday the use of lawsuits for defamation against journalists Óscar Castilla and Edmundo Cruz Vilchez to “intimidate” their complaints about corruption and organized crime.
“Once again we see with impotence the long tradition that exists in Peru regarding the inhibitory use of lawsuits against journalists to stop their investigations”, criticized María Elvira Domínguez, president of the SIP.
Castilla, director of the portal Ojo-Público.com, and Cruz Vilchez, of the newspaper La República de Lima, were sued by businessman Miguel Arévalo Ramírez for journalistic works that would link him to organized crime.
Dominguez said that these measures seek to “force them to exercise self-censorship.”
The IAPA, are based in Miami, said Arévalo has filed ten complaints with millionaire lawsuits against various media, according to the Peruvian Press Council.
He recalled that on April 8 journalist Pedro Salinas was sentenced to one year in prison suspended (without entering jail) and the payment of a fine of more than $ 20,000 in a defamation suit filed by a high authority of the Church Catholicism allegedly related to a case of concealment of sexual abuse.
Roberto Rock, president of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, reiterated the call of the union to the rigor of criminal judges when “examining and accepting lawsuits against journalists.”
He regretted that these demands are used “to curb journalistic investigations on corruption and other crimes.”
“It is the duty of the judges to review and analyze the merits of the lawsuits before exposing journalists to preventive measures and the cancellation of their work, in violation of the right to freedom of expression and freedom of the press,” Rock reiterated. (EFEUSA)