Freedom of information and the right to protest are pillars of democracy

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The National Association of Journalists of Peru – ANP (Asociación Nacional de Periodistas del Perú) deplores the actions of the police officers who, in the last 48 hours, within the framework of the exercise of the legitimate citizen right to protest, have repressed photojournalists, reporters and protesters.

The ANP recalls that it is the duty of the State to provide guarantees for the full exercise of the right to freedom of information, expression and opinion, and that the excesses of function of members of the National Police of Peru on November 9 and 10 are violations of what is prescribed in the national legal framework and violate the standards of action established by the inter-American human rights system.

At least 16 photojournalists, video reporters and reporters from the group El Comercio, La República, Wayka, Exitosa, Huku Comunicaciones, among other media, have been attacked in circumstances in which they were carrying out their coverage work. It is important to remember that the visual and audiovisual record made by photojournalists and video reporters make it possible to document the actions of each of the parties involved in the protest. One must value the contribution to transparency of this.

Even in the most extreme and exceptional cases, international law imposes a series of requirements – such as legality, necessity, proportionality and temporality – aimed at preventing measures such as the state of exception or emergency from being used in an illegal, abusive and disproportionate manner, causing human rights violations.

As the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression points out in his report “Protest and Human Rights (INF22 /19), “broad access to information is not only related to accountability and the way in which the State facilitates the protest, but it is also essential to facilitate the channeling, visualization and dissemination of the actions and speeches of the protesters (…)”.

For the ANP, the actions carried out by police officers in the last 48 hours openly constitute abuse of authority, for which we demand an effective response from the Public Ministry and the Ombudsman’s Office, who have the duty to assume their role of investigation and protection, as the case may be, of fundamental rights. Therefore, we demand the immediate cessation of illegal detentions, identification of offending police officers and an independent investigation without delay into the excessive use of force in operations.

The ANP recognizes and encourages the solidarity actions of photojournalists and reporters who are covering the protests on the front line. The immediate response as a group to the aggression or the attempt to arrest a colleague has been key to quelling the abuses. The companionship, in circumstances as complex as those the country is going through, is our most effective weapon of care and self-defense.

Finally, the ANP declares itself on permanent alert, documenting and denouncing cases of attacks on journalists, stigmatization and all kinds of limitation to the exercise of freedom of expression and the right to information, whether these come from police officers or those who legitimately demonstrate. Respect for fundamental rights and guarantees for the exercise of freedoms are basic pillars of a healthy democratic coexistence.

Lima, 11 November 2020
National Executive Committee

Complete report (in Spannish): https://bit.ly/2UupNTT

About WOW

WOW was founded as a Social Christian trade union and finds inspiration in the spiritual believe that man and universe were created by God or by persuasions coinciding with that. The increase of intercultural contacts provided opportunities for the WOW to expand and broaden its view with visions of other religious backgrounds. WOW does so in a joint attempt to build a world community based on freedom, dignity, justice and solidarity.

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