Initiative proposes that defamation through the media be punished with up to 5 years in prison.
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The bill promoted by the Free Peru caucus so that the penalty for the crime of defamation through the media is up to five years in prison represents an intimidation of the press and a threat to freedom of expression. This was considered by specialists consulted by El Comercio.
The initiative was signed by nine legislators from Peru Libre, with Segundo Montalvo as its main author. The proposal is to modify the articles of the Penal Code referring to the crimes of slander and defamation to increase their penalties.
In the case of defamation, proposes that if the crime is committed “through books, the press, social networks, collective disclosure websites or other means of social communication, the sentence shall be imprisonment for not less than two nor more than five years.” p>
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In this way, if the sentence exceeds four years as proposed, it would result in an effective prison sentence. Currently, the sentence is not more than three years.
Lawyer Roberto Pereira, legal advisor to the Press and Society Institute (IPYS), indicated that the proposal it is unnecessary and that it is part of a tendency to penalize freedom of expression.
“While it might seem plausible that people's honor is defended, deep down we all know that the application of these crimes is basically aimed at affecting freedom of expression. Politicians are the ones who are uncomfortable with the work of the press and promote changes to the Penal Code,” he said.
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The National Association of Journalists (ANP) yesterday issued a statement in which it described the project as “excessive, inhibitory and contrary to the freedom of expression.”
La @ANP_periodistas rechaza proyecto de ley presentado por congresista Segundo Montalvo que pretende elevar pena de cárcel en casos de difamación, por utilización indebida de medios de comunicación, redes sociales o sitios web de divulgación colectiva.https://t.co/u74kxW11OS pic.twitter.com/agKkfIEkMr
— ANP Perú (@ANP_periodistas) August 20, 2022
The president of the ANP, Zuliana Lainez, added that the proposal is “a legal absurdity”. “The inter-American [human rights] system is calling on countries to decriminalize honor crimes. The congressman and the caucus are going in the opposite direction”, he said.
He warned that even if the project is shelved, its very formulation “ it intends to muzzle independent journalism.”
In In his video column “Cuéntame Otra” this Friday, Fernando Vivas analyzes the presentation of the President of the Council of Ministers before the Legislature, where he was summoned to explain the phrases that incite violence.