News

Mapping most emblematic cases of lawsuits against journalists in Latin America

19/07/2021

Interview with Adriana León, Director of the Area of Freedom of Information at IPYS

Could you please introduce yourself and share how you become committed to promoting media freedom?

I am a practicing journalist and I also direct the area dedicated to monitoring and protecting freedom of expression and access to information in Peru and other Latin American countries. Through the Voces del Sur Network, we carry out an exhaustive and detailed monitoring of the issues faced by the press and journalists in the region. We issue alerts, communiqués and conduct advocacy campaigns to protest against attacks on freedom of expression, and also work to challenge laws and other impediments to these rights. We also have a temporary safe house for journalists at risk and have several protection and assistance programs for those in imminent danger. We also receive requests for help from journalists facing legal issues related to freedom of the press.

What is the mission of the organization you work for?

[Institute Prensa y Sociedad / Press and Society Institute] IPYS is interested in promoting free journalism and high professional standards with the goal of ensuring that society has plural and quality information, so citizens are able to properly exercise their civil, political and economic rights. In this sense:

It defends the freedoms of press and expression and speaks out against situations that weaken them.

IPYS develops a non-partisan activity. In order to achieve its goals, it engages in dialogue with all democratic sectors.

What are you doing with the grant from the Global Media Defense Fund?

We will create a Legal Committee to study, evaluate and pronounce on emblematic cases of journalists who have been convicted at least in the first instance for crimes related to the exercise of their profession. We will compile for them the most important cases in each country, with the help of the network to which we belong and which has ample experience in receiving these cases. We will evaluate possible advocacy and lobbying actions to support the litigation of these cases and try to reverse unjust sentences against journalists. We will make a detailed monitoring of the situation of freedom of expression in Peru, with special emphasis on judicial processes against journalists and, if possible, we will provide legal advice.

What will be the impact of this action?

Mapping the most emblematic cases of lawsuits and legal proceedings against journalists in Peru and Latin America. We shall analyze them, evaluate them and engage into relevant action to amend the situation of journalists who have been convicted, censored, and in some cases, imprisoned, for reporting the truth. We will provide legal advice to prosecuted journalists, as well as report and take action against the abusive prosecution of these professionals.

Any suggestions/recommendations you would like to make to UNESCO as administrator of this Fund and/or to its donors?

To continue with this support and to obtain funds to professionalize lawyers so that they become experts in litigating freedom of expression issues.