Region: Latin America

Number of Trials: 1

Paola Ugaz

In Peru, CFJ’s partner the American Bar Association Center for Human Rights is monitoring the trial of investigative journalist Paola Ugaz as part of TrialWatch. This case is part of a broader trend of misuse of Peru’s overbroad defamation laws to limit freedom of expression. Defamation under Peruvian law is punishable by up to two years’ imprisonment and these laws, which can be invoked by private parties, have been used to threaten, intimidate, and prosecute journalists.

Paola Ugaz

Peruvian journalists Paola Ugaz and Pedro Salinas, who exposed a web of abuse in an elite Catholic society and are being sued for defamation by a local bishop, talk to Reuters during an interview in Lima, Peru October 16, 2018. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

Journalist Paola Ugaz has reported on alleged abuses by the Catholic lay organization Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SCV). In response, parties affiliated with or supportive of the SCV have filed criminal and civil suits against her. Ms. Ugaz criticized the misogyny in the coverage of these suits by a Catholic news website, La Abeja, which has previously accused journalists of attacking the Catholic Church.  She said, for instance, that “there is a campaign being waged through defamatory networks against women journalists, especially because with female journalists there is a sort of, I don’t know, a disposition . . . a lot of male chauvinism.” In response, the director of La Abeja filed a criminal defamation suit against Ms. Ugaz.

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