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IAPA concerned about the “discriminatory attitudes” of Pedro Castillo

Pedro Castillo
The president of Peru, Pedro Castillo. Photo: EFE

The Inter-American Press Association (SIP) on Tuesday expressed concern about the “pejorative statements against the media” made by the president of Peru, Pedro Castillo, who called on “to lay down his attitude of silence” against journalists, to whom he has not given interviews since he began his mandate.

The organization recalled that last week during his visit to the city of Arequipa, Castillo “threatened” not to give official publicity to the media that “distort reality«.

The president, who is facing an impeachment motion presented by the opposition in the Peruvian Congress, added that the media sell their editorial line favorable to the government in exchange for a “budget” assigned to them.

These statements led the Peruvian Press Council and the National Radio and Television Society to deny that the media “have conditioned their position or editorial line on the investment in advertising made by the State.”

They noted that state advertising represents 5% of their total revenue.

The president of the IAPA, Jorge Canahuati, and the president of the Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information of that body, Carlos Jornet, stressed that official advertising should not be a “government tool to reward or punish the media or journalists critical ”, and on the contrary they must be“ administered with transparency and technical and efficiency criteria ”.

“It is important that the Congress of Peru legislate and order the way in which various governments have been using public funds for their own benefit and discriminating against those media they consider critical with the official guide,” they jointly declared in a statement.

Corrupt practice

The IAPA described the discriminatory handling of official advertising by governments as a “corrupt practice”, “both due to the misuse of public resources and to try to influence the editorial decisions of the media.”

Likewise, as noted in a resolution on official advertising, it condemned the media and journalists who “benefit from these irregular and illegitimate practices or who even become accomplices with their conduct.”

The IAPA alluded to the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which states that “the arbitrary and discriminatory allocation of official advertising … based on its news lines, undermines freedom of expression.”

Canahuati, executive president of Grupo Opsa (Honduras), and Jornet, director of the newspaper The voice of the interior (Argentina), expressed their concern about the “secrecy of President Castillo before journalists and the media” at the beginning of his term in July.

“The president has been reinforcing the trend that we denounced in our most recent report on freedom of the press on Peru,” they added.

This with respect to the fact that Castillo and his government officials limit the access of journalists, media and citizens to information of public interest and do not grant interviews, “they said.

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