PERUVIAN JOURNALISTS FIGHT FOR FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS
Inside the country the winds are not good for journalists. It is election year. Those who want to reach public office or those who exercise it already and aim to stay in office, appeal to all kinds of tricks to silence critical voices. The easiest and most effective way seems to be polarizing the journalists. In case there are two opposing groups, the citizens will be so involved in this struggle that little attention is paid to the revelations of corruption that could lead to those who seek to get the votes.
The second strategy is to wipe those who could monitor campaigns and efforts by using direct or indirect censorship through public or administrative pressures. Proof of this are cases like the program 'Aportes' led by Pepe Elias Juarez, on channel 41, Chiclayo that was taken out of the air. Requiring co-production of journalistic content as a condition for renewing the concession contracts is also a known script. Therefore, the program 'Enfoques' led by Glenda Pinedo Mello, was removed from the open television. The conditions imposed by TV Tarapoto were unacceptable.
Moral death is another weapon. The campaigns across the country to discredit critical journalists are shameful. It is the old way of hitting the messenger to leave no trace of the message. Lenin Quevedo Bardález has to resist all kinds of insinuations because of the simple fact of being critical to a candidate who has been credited with several signs of illegal behavior in a previous municipal administration.
The other method are the comprehensive and repeated inspections from the Ministry of Transport and Communications. They become abusive and have a strange smell. Are they pretending to charge Wari Radio Station in Huamanga?
Lilia Esther Valenzuela Zorrilla, Rosario Romani and the entire team - the most critical voice about the regional authority and other officials in the area – are not only harassed in court.
Today the mayor of Guamanga himself tries to make implausible the complaints made by that station by trying to discredit the station and to insinuate a link to violent groups. In Tumbes, people linked to the regional authority, have attacked for the third time journalist Ursula Pinedo, from the program 'Hoy por
Hoy' of radio Sorceress. What about the police investigation?. No positive results on the first two attacks. It would be rare if there will be a result on the third.
In Satipo, Huaylas and Pomabamba there are also complaints.
What should we do? Raise our voices. Accuse, accuse, accuse until we lose our voice. Require, require, require for investigation of aggression and harassment with the aim to identify the perpetrators.To encourage our colleagues within the country and many in Lima to fight their own battles within the newsrooms.
Encourage that courageous journalism not to lower the head at the possibility of prior censorship of their programs. Demonstrate that journalists can be united, that we do not fear the stick of those who seek to use us for their political games, that at this difficult time we are able to continue to comply with this work that gives reason for what we do: to monitor public affairs, reporting and encourage justice.
Only on this way the campaign will stop and we will get out alive. Morally alive realizing of having waged a fierce battle against those who want to come to power no matter what. Those who work in the provinces, you are not alone. We will use all tools we have. Our walls, our means, we will call our colleagues from this side of the border and from the other side. The goal is to add together all the voices we can find in defense of a free press. Free and responsible.
Zuliana LainezGeneral SecretaryNational Association of Journalists (PERU)