In Peru, CFJ’s partner the American Bar Association Center for Human Rights monitored the trial of investigative journalist Paola Ugaz as part of TrialWatch. This case was 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.
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. 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. Although she was acquitted in January 2022, and a court of appeal held her acquittal in June of that year, she said that courts and the prosecutor’s office participate in silencing journalists.