Bogotá, May 10, 2023 – Peruvian authorities must take seriously the recent threats made to the investigative news website IDL-Reporteros and hold those responsible for harassing the outlet to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Wednesday.
On May 5, about 50 protesters with the right-wing political group La Resistencia gathered at IDL-Reporteros’ office in Lima, the capital, where video of the protest showed them setting off small explosives and throwing flares, bags of trash, tree branches, and broken glass at the building.
Some of the demonstrators shouted threats, including “Gorriti, your days are numbered” and “Gorriti: you will die,” Gustavo Gorriti, the outlet’s editor-in-chief, told CPJ via messaging app. Gorriti said the demonstration lasted about two hours and did not result in any injuries to the outlet’s staff or damage to the building.
Gorriti told CPJ that members of La Resistencia previously held about 20 protests against IDL-Reporteros, including at the outlet’s office and at his home. He described the May 5 demonstration as the most violent against IDL-Reporteros so far and said that several police officers observed it but did nothing to disperse the protesters.
“The continuous, unchecked effort by the same right-wing group to harass and intimidate Peruvian journalists demands an urgent response from authorities,” said Carlos Martínez de la Serna, CPJ’s program director, in New York. “Authorities must take the threats against Gustavo Gorriti and IDL-Reporteros seriously, ensure the outlet’s safety, and hold those responsible for this campaign of threats to account.”
La Resistencia is a group that supports former right-wing presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori, and is reported to have the backing of some conservative politicians and retired military officers. CPJ was unable to find contact information for the group.
Gorriti said the La Resistencia began targeting IDL-Reporteros in 2018 after the news organization published reports about the alleged involvement of right-wing politicians in corruption scandals.
“This group is acting with impunity,” Gorriti told CPJ, saying he had filed an official complaint about the harassment. “We are demanding protection from the government which must not become an accomplice to these delinquents.”
La Resistencia has harassed other Peruvian journalists, politicians, and human rights organizations and has interrupted book readings, according to news reports.
Adriana León, a representative of the Lima-based free expression group Institute for Press and Society, told CPJ that La Resistencia supporters also harass journalists online, and said the group often labels IDL-Reporteros as a pro-communist, pro-terrorist, and anti-patriotic organization that spreads false news.
CPJ contacted Peru’s National Police, Interior Ministry, and the attorney general’s office in Lima by phone and messaging app for comment but did not receive any replies.