Freedom of the Press
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Press Freedom Score (0 = best, 100 = worst)
Legal Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
Political Environment(0 = best, 40 = worst)
Economic Environment(0 = best, 30 = worst)
The constitution calls for freedom of the press. In 2003, the recently enacted Law on Transparency and Access to Public Information provided for increased access to government information, including provisions preventing the classification of any information relating to human rights violations. However, a legislative decree passed during the year restricted journalists' ability to cover criminal trials. Libel is considered a criminal offense; libel charges are often used to harass journalists who work on cases dealing with corruption, especially those investigating connections between officials and drug traffickers. Cases of actual intimidation and violence against journalists decreased in 2003, but there were still occurrences in the provinces, including two that involved death threats to television reporters. Journalists were threatened for working on bribery cases and were also injured while covering anti-government protests. One paper claimed to have received threats after running a story about the private life of the president. Although outright attempts to control content are unusual, the knowledge that official pressure could fall on any group that produces negative stories has led to some self-censorship. Legal and financial pressure is also applied to intimidate media outlets. Media, which are predominantly privately owned, are diverse, representing a broad spectrum of political and social interests. For many rural regions, radio is still the most important source of news and information. The media corruption that was endemic under the Fujimori regime is still a problem. Some cases are still pending, while a number of media executives have been jailed on bribery charges; these convictions have led to a continued decline in trust in the media. It is also alleged that the Toledo government has played too large a role in the outcome of some of the legal proceedings concerning control of media outlets. Backlash from the corruption scandals has lowered the incidence of bribery among reporters.