Anti-terrorism bill in Peru could muzzle freedom of expression, press
On Aug. 28, a new anti-terrorism bill was presented in the Peruvian Congress that could restrict freedom of expression and the press in the South American country, according to the AFP.
The bill, proposed by the executive branch, proposes adding "denial of terrorist crimes" to the criminal code, reported the newspaper El Comercio. According to the newspaper, the bill would allow prison sentences between four and eight years for anyone who, in a public manner, approves of, justifies, denies or minimizes criminal acts committed by terrorist organizations.
The government said that the "Denial Law," as it has come to be known, aims to strengthen the rule of law by "criminalizing conduct that goes beyond socially recognized norms and trivializes or tries to justify grave acts of violent terrorism perpetrated in [Peru]," reported the website RPP.
Journalist César Hildebrandt Pérez-Treviño told Ideeleradio and the website Directo y Sin Rodeos the Denial Law refuses the inalienable right to express an opinion. "I disagree with the denial law, it seems to me an attack on freedom of expression by our enemies, those who dislike us, the result is no freedom of expression, it's monotony," the journalist said in an interview with the website.
Peruvian Congressman Amplio Javier Diez Canseco told RPP that the law was "poorly thought out" because it proposes prison time for those that deny terrorism while leaving the question of "state terror" open.
Ombudsman Eduardo Vega Luna said that the bill would undergo a review to understand how it could restrict freedom of expression, reported the news agency Andina. Vega said the review process would focus on two subjects: first, fighting terrorism by legal means and second, determining if this bill could limit other rights, reported the news agency.
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