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Peru: PEN International condemns legal harassment of journalist and author Gustavo Gorriti

Last update: 20 June 2024
Peru: PEN International condemns legal harassment of journalist and author Gustavo Gorriti

PEN Belarus joins the statement of PEN International and condemns legal harassment of journalist and author Gustavo Gorriti.

‘The Peruvian authorities have a history of persecuting journalists, using the judicial system to undermine and prevent the publication of their investigations. The harassment of Gustavo Gorriti violates his right to freedom of expression and freedom of the press. The authorities must drop this investigation immediately,’ said Burhan Sonmez, President of PEN International.

17 June 2024: The Peruvian authorities must end the legal harassment of investigative journalists as a means of silencing and obstructing their work. On 27 March 2024, Lima prosecutor Alcides Chinchay opened an investigation against prominent journalist and writer Gustavo Gorriti, founder and editor-in-chief of IDL-Reporteros, for alleged bribery and requested that he reveal his journalistic sources, according to a statement from the Peruvian Public Prosecutor’s Office.

According to the indictment, the prosecution is seeking to determine whether Gorriti, in his reporting on corruption for IDL-Reporteros, promoted the work of two public prosecutors in exchange for information about their investigations into political corruption; the indictment and the ongoing investigation against Gorriti states that he does not have the right to anonymity of his sources and that he should provide the prosecution with identifying data such as the telephone numbers he used between 2016 and 2021.

Over the past four decades, Gustavo Gorriti’s journalistic writing has exposed cases of corruption at various levels of the Peruvian political and judicial system. He is author of several books such as Sendero (Path)La Calavera en negro (The Skull in Black), and La batalla (The Battle). The journalist and author is accused of having influenced the investigation against former presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori, whose trial for money laundering is scheduled to begin on 1 July 2024. The complaint that triggered the investigation against Gorriti was filed by a member of the Peruvian Aprista Party – which rose to prominence under Alan García, the former president of Peru who committed suicide in 2019 as he was about to be arrested as part of a corruption investigation.

The criminalisation of journalists, as well their targeting through disinformation campaigns, exposes them to the threat of violence. In recent months, groups of people have repeatedly targeted Gorriti and his news outlet by mounting an escalating campaign of harassment and intimidation, with incidents including violent rallies where individuals launched missiles and flares at the offices of IDL-Reporteros.

PEN International believes that the judicial enquiry against the Gorriti is an attack on his journalism and a violation of his right to freedom of expression. The Peruvian Constitution protects the right of journalists to keep confidential sources confidential and the authorities must guarantee the right.

PEN International calls on the Peruvian authorities to drop the investigation against Gustavo Gorriti, to provide him with the adequate security measures to carry out his work without fear of reprisals and attacks. The Peruvian authorities must cease the criminalization of journalism.