PERU - Court's decision to jail TV host for defamation called "dangerous and inappropriate"



    MONTREAL, Oct. 17 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders condemns
yesterday's imprisonment of Magaly Medina, the host of a celebrity gossip show
on privately-owned national television station ATV, after she was sentenced by
a Lima criminal court to five months in prison for defaming Peruvian soccer
star Paolo Guerrero. The organisation regards the sentence as totally
inappropriate and calls for the decriminalization of press offences.
    "It is not our job to say whether we think Guerrero was defamed, although
this seems to have been so," Reporters Without Borders said. "But we think it
is very dangerous that a prison sentence was passed in this case, especially
as it is extremely rare in a country such as Peru, and that it was implemented
although Medina filed an appeal, which normally suspends execution of the
sentence."
    The press freedom organisation added: "Imprisonment in a defamation case
not only fails to redress the damage but can also end up harming the
plaintiff's reputation. This dangerous and inappropriate prison sentence runs
counter to the tendency in countries that belong to the Organisation of
American States to decriminalize press offences. We hope Peru will amend its
legislation accordingly and that Medina will be quickly released." Medina was
escorted handcuffed from the Lima lawcourt building at around 7 p.m.
yesterday, after receiving the five-month jail sentence, and was taken in a
prison truck to Chorrillos women's prison. Ney Guerrero Orellana, the producer
of Medina's show, "Magaly TeVe," was also incarcerated after getting a
three-month sentence in the same case. He and Medina were ordered to pay
Guerrero 80,000 soles (19,000 euros) in damages.
    The popular and controversial Medina claimed in her show that Guerrero, a
striker with the German team Hamburg, surreptitiously skipped a Peruvian
national side training session on the eve of a match against Brazil in
November 2007 in order to have a date with a young woman. The court ruled in
Guerrero's favour after he proved that did go out that day but had Peru coach
José del Solar's permission.




For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, Executive Director,
Reporters Without Borders Canada, (514) 521-4111, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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