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WAN-IFRA denounces legal harassment

WAN-IFRA has denounced efforts by government and police in Peru to undermine freedom of expression after the publication of a cartoon in La República drawing attention to recent public scandals.

WAN-IFRA denounces legal harassment
WAN-IFRA: “The incident is just the latest attempt to pressure La República and its journalists for critical coverage.”

WAN-IFRA says officials have threatened legal action against both the artist and the news organisation following the publication of a satirical cartoon by Carlos Tovar, better known by the penname, Carlín.

The cartoon is claimed to have challenged the “honour and integrity of those it depicts”, by undermining the institution they represent.

In an editorial defending the cartoonist and denouncing attempts to undermine press freedom, La República asserted Carlín’s rights to opinion and interpretation – rights guaranteed by legislation protecting freedom of expression under the Peruvian constitution.

It highlighted a September 2023 opinion survey that showed over 75% of Peruvians did not trust the national police service: “In a country that every day learns of security agents who lead criminal gangs, keep silent about those responsible for the deaths of over 49 people in the protests of a year ago, or who collect bribes on a daily basis, to say that the cartoonist damages the institutional image is more than an exaggeration, a useless attempt to cover up the sun with a finger.”

The incident is just the latest attempt to pressure La República and its journalists for critical coverage.

La República says it has faced over a hundred investigations and judicial proceedings in the two years since President Dina Boluarte came to power.

In January of this year, the organisation says it uncovered a spying operation against journalist, César Romero, orchestrated by the Attorney General’s Office.

Prominent La República columnist and news anchor, Rosa María Palacios, has been receiving online and offline threats and harassment.

WAN-IFRA denounces the legal harassment of La República and calls on the institutions of state to respect legislation protecting freedom of the press.

Furthermore, the organisation reminds the Peruvian government that it is the responsibility of the state to ensure the safety and protection of all citizens, including journalists. It calls for a full investigation into all threats of violence or intimidation – online or off – made against La República and its journalists, and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

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