Journalists from TV outlet Panorama face treason charges
On 8th July, the Journalist Federation of Peru (FPP), the Peruvian Licensed Journalist Association (CPP), the National Association of Journalists (ANP) and the Confederation of Workers of Peru (CTP) and other associations held a march to support journalists from the TV outlet Panorama who have been accused of treason by the Ministry of Defence. In April, Panorama revealed wrongdoing related to the military intelligence budget at the Valley of the Apurimac rivers, Ene and Mantaro (VRAEM), an area of the country seriously affected by drug crime. The report alleged a series of irregularities including the embezzlement of state funds and the writing of fraudulent intelligence reports. The office of the Defence Minister has subsequently filed a criminal complaint against Panorama for spreading national secrets, accusing the journalist in question of treason. If convicted, the journalist could face up to 15 years in prison, in what was described by local free expression advocacy group as 'an act of force and intimidation' against investigative journalism in Peru.
In a positive development, the president of the Council of Ministers, Fernando Zavala, announced a decision to create an autonomous authority designed to ensure the realisation of citizens' right to access to public information. Although Peru's Law on Access to Information was enacted 15 years ago, many state institutions have created exceptions, which they use to justify the withholding of information. Separately, civil society group Hiperderecho presented the Pidela.info platform, which allows people to submit requests for public information over the Internet. The platform currently brings together nine state entities including the National Superintendence of Sanitation Services (SUNASS), the Municipality of Miraflores, the Agency for Assessment and Environmental Control (OEFA) and others.
On 8th August 2016, students from the Universidad Nacional Federico Villarreal took to the streets to demand an investigation into serious allegations of corruption against university authorities. The demonstration was dispersed by police using teargas and birdshot, with dozens of students injured and several others arrested.
The criminalisation of protests in Peru is commonplace. According to monitoring by the National Human Rights Coordinator, repression of social protests between 2011 and 2016 left a death toll of 50 and 750 injured. Impunity for perpetrators prevails in most of these cases.