Lea la versión original en español: http://freedomofjournalism.org/values/peru-la-historia-cambia-los-riesgos-para-un-periodista-no/
Peru has gone through different political stages in which journalists have also faced challenges like the government’s, terrorists’, and other criminal associations’ chilling attacks. Today, journalists have to adapt to the new country’s regulations in COVID-19 times.
The situation has changed since the 1990s. During that decade, Peruvians were facing terrorism, an accumulated inflation of 3,500,000%, and a government that had been doing a few good things, but not transparent at all. Alberto Fujimori’s government constantly silenced journalists in many ways, such as kidnapping, murdering their families or expatriating reporters who covered news critical of the way the government would do things.
On April 5, 1992, Alberto Fujimori dissolved the Congress, which brought the shutdown of certain media channels like the radio station ‘Antena 1.’ In that opportunity, Henry Aragón, reporter for the radio station Antena 1 had a conversation with the senator and manager of ‘La República’ newspaper, Gustavo Mohme, and during that transmission it can be heard in the background how the army is forcing Antena 1 to close their facilities.
Since Alberto’s Fujimori’s resignation, and forward, things have been changing slowly and Peru started developing a more stable democracy. By the beginning of the new millennium, the terrorism had decreased significantly, as well as the inflation.
Therefore, media channels began to fulfill their role as the “fourth estate” and watch more carefully over government action.
As of August 11, Peru has more than 433,000 confirmed cases and more than 20,000 deaths associated with COVID-19. This pandemic has caused an economic instability and the reduction of employment opportunities for journalists in Peru.
While in the 1990s journalists would face challenges that would put in danger their lives, today they have the same fate. Due to the lack of job opportunities and the medical facilities to assist thousands COVID-19 cases; currently a journalist must think twice if leaving home to cover an event and risk to get infected, and in a likely scenario, not receive the appropriate treatment.
“The situation in the country is critical and, despite a quick and strict intervention from the government, the public health system, has been disregarded for several decades, which had to deal with the consequences.” (Jonathan Castro Cajahuanca, Washington Post)
In an interview with the Freedom of Journalism project at Brigham Young University, Gerardo Peralta, former manager at the editorial desk of El Comercio in Lima, Peru, said that currently many journalists have been fired from different media channels because the current economy cannot allow the luxury to have a full and vast staff.
Likewise, many experienced and competent journalists lost their media channels due to the economic instability, which leaves them without power when addressing their duties as a free press.
The story has changed, but the life of a journalist will always be at risk.