Media, Ethics, and Democracy in Peru
In the provinces of Peru, radio station owners ?frequency permit holders-- rent time space indiscriminately. This practice constitutes a critical problem as far as journalistic practices are concerned, and is criticized by journalists and citizens alike because it is the vehicle used by journalists and pseudo journalists to slander and undertake smear campaigns, defame o blackmail authorities and citizens in exchange for money. It is this recurrent anomaly, related to journalism and ethics, which demands attention and change, in order to gain leeway in the work towards promoting an independent press in Peru. Within this context, it is indispensable that the media recognize their fundamental role in strengthening freedom of expression, of the press and democratic values. The dangers of inaction are evident and starting to emerge. A case in point is a 2008 legislative initiative by which only journalism degree graduates or members of the non-mandatory collegiate body Colegio de Periodistas could work as journalists, which was being reviewed by a congressional sub commission. Again, polls continue to register a significant percentage of citizens that favour the implementation of state controlled regulatory mechanisms for the media. It follows that it is necessary that the media work towards promoting self-regulatory mechanisms to enhance ethics and good journalism practices within the framework of freedom of the press, of expression and of citizen's right to be informed. The Consejo de la Prensa Peruana (Peruvian Press Council) proposes to initiate the second phase of a national scope year-long project, with the objective of promoting ethics in journalism as a means of strengthening the role of an independent media, enhancing transparency in the media, reinforcing freedom of the press and expression values and ultimately contributing towards the consolidation of the incipient democracy in Peru. The project aims to train approximately 60 journalists on regulatory and ethical issues relating to the press including: transparency, ethics and press coverage of corruption, social responsibility and ethics in the press, and to sensitise approximately 30 media owners provide them with a deep understanding of the scope of legislation regarding ethics, including legal implications of the use of air waves; as well as issues related to advertisement and independence.