Bogotá, February 22, 2023 – Peruvian authorities must investigate the harassment of journalists Gustavo Gorriti and Rosa María Palacios and take steps to protect members of the press covering political protests and corruption scandals, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Wednesday.
On Tuesday, February 21, at least 20 protesters gathered in front of the homes of Gorriti and Palacios, shouted insults over loudspeakers, and accused them of spreading fake news, according to multiple news reports and the journalists, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app. Gorriti works as the editor-in-chief at the news website IDL-Reporteros and Palacios is a columnist at the Lima-based daily La Republica.
The protesters were reported to be supporters of La Resistencia, an extremist right-wing movement whose leaders had published Gorriti’s address on social media and encouraged followers to harass him. A video posted on Twitter shows the protesters in front of Gorriti’s home holding signs, waving flags, and calling him a “traitor to the homeland.”
After an hour, the group marched to Palacio’s home, where they used a loudspeaker to insult the journalist, according to those sources. “It’s scary,” Palacios said. “They are trying to intimidate journalists.” Police were at both scenes, and the protesters left Palacios’ home on their own accord after an hour.
“Peruvian authorities must send a clear message that intimidation of journalists is unacceptable,” said Carlos Martinez de la Serna, CPJ’s program director, in New York. “Law enforcement officials must immediately investigate and hold accountable those responsible for publishing the addresses and laying siege to the home of journalists Gustavo Gorriti and Rosa María Palacios.”
La Resistencia is aligned with former right-wing presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori, and is reported to have the backing of several conservative and retired military officers.
Gorriti and Palacios told CPJ they had been frequent targets of La Resistencia, which has held several protests outside the offices of La Republica and about 20 demonstrations outside the IDL-Reporteros office.
Palacios said the protests in front of her home may have been in reaction to her reports criticizing the police for committing human rights abuses during anti-government protests that broke out in December 2022 over the ouster of then-President Pedro Castillo.
Gorriti told CPJ that La Resistencia began harassing him and the IDL-Reporteros headquarters in 2018 after the investigative reporting website started publishing reports alleging the involvement of right-wing politicians in corruption scandals. “What La Resistencia does is create a web of lies and conspiracy theories,” Gorriti told CPJ.
CPJ’s email to the police press office in Lima did not receive a response. CPJ was unable to locate contact information for representatives of La Resistencia.
[Editors’ Note: The ninth paragraph was updated to correct the description of IDL-Reporteros and the year the harassment began.]