Letter: No restrictions on freedom of expression in Peru

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The Independent Online
Sir: John Simpson's lack of knowledge about the Peruvian situation is once again very obvious in his letter 'How Peru threatens a brave journalist' (31 March).

On 25 March, Mr Genaro Delgado Parker, chairman of the Association of Radio and Television, clearly stated that during the past two and a half years of government in Peru 'there has not been any restriction to the right of the freedom of expression in Peru'.

On 30 March, Mr Miguel Angel Calderon, dean of the Peruvian Journalists' Association, following a meeting with President Fujimori, expressed his conviction that in our country exists an unrestricted freedom of expression. Moreover, during the above-mentioned meeting, some cases that worried the Journalists' Association were mentioned to the President, Miss Valenzuela's not being one of them.

Even more so, President Fujimori himself has expressed (to give one example of his commitment to the guarantee of freedom of expression in Peru) that in his opinion two journalists, Magno Sosa and Danilo Quijano, were entirely innocent of the charges made against them. Nevertheless, as is obvious, it is in the Court of Justice where those situations will be resolved and not, as Mr Simpson suggests, through 'persecution and violence' instigated by the government.

We knew that before his trip to Peru in September 1992, Mr Simpson was absolutely convinced that our country was a 'Heart of Darkness', as he wrote in the Independent on Sunday (6 September, 1992); his subsequent 'reports' on Newsnight being an accurate reflection of his theory. Today, notwithstanding the undeniable changes and progress achieved by Peru, including our return to democracy and reinstatement into the international financial system, he insists on casting doubts upon our basic institutions by making these hasty and groundless accusations.

Yours faithfully,

JULIO FLORIAN

Minister Counsellor

Embassy of Peru

London, SW1

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