The National Association of Journalists of Peru (Asociación Nacional de Periodistas del Perú), in exceptional circumstances such as those experienced by the country, is puzzled how some reporters from national television networks make the pandemic a spectacle.
In a state of national emergency, citizens need balanced information, basic coverage, calls for calm -ness and appropriateness in an unprecedented situation for the world population. It is at times like these that journalism must bring out the best in itself. It must demonstrate why it is considered an essential worldwide service, along with the work of health personnel, law enforcers, and food providers.
It is inadmissible that the logic of monopolizing the attention of the audience prevails, awakening morbidity and reinforcing gender stereotypes that stigmatize people for fulfilling certain family or social tasks -as has happened in recent hours-. Inform yes, but with respect and responsibility. The erratic business guideline of gaining audience at any price cannot and should not subordinate it all. The pandemic must become an opportunity to regain the trust of citizens in journalists and the media.
Unfortunately, the behavior of a few unfairly calls into question an entire sector that is making national, regional and local efforts to continue reporting despite the limitations of all kinds. Opposed to some irresponsible journalists – who are the minority – there are journalists making the media a public service. Putting their own integrity at risk in the coverage, battling the whirlwind of fake news, in endless informational and emotionally worn days covering the tragedy.
Finally, the ANP calls upon to prioritize the most essential sense of our profession. The journalist must not resort in his informative task towards sensationalism or obscenity. Much less employ criteria of racial, ideological or sex discrimination, nor mislead or distort opinions, misrepresenting or maliciously extracting them from their context.
More than ever we need journalists and socially responsible journalism.
Lima, 4 April 2020
National Executive Committee