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Radio TV Oriente director acquitted

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 21 December 2010, Geovanni Acate, the director of Radio TV Oriente, was acquitted of the crimes of disturbing the peace, instigating rebellion and acting against means of public transport and communication, among others. The acquittal was issued by a court in Yurimaguas, Loreto department, in northeastern Peru.

The accusation against the journalist was filed following Radio TV Oriente's coverage of indigenous protests in the region of Yurimaguas in May 2009. During the protests, Acate supported the demands of indigenous groups against measures adopted by the government.

The acquittal ruling states that Acate's participation during the protests was limited to carrying out his work as a journalist, covering the events without committing any crime. Roberto Pereira, the lawyer who supported Acate from the beginning of his ordeal, pointed out that the sentence supports the defence's position, which maintained that the objective behind the accusation was to penalise the journalist and his station for their editorial line.

The process against the journalist was closely monitored by IPYS, which also provided assistance and legal advice to the accused through the law firm Pereira & Asociados. It should be noted that the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) showed its concern about the case during its visit to Lima in May 2010.

IPYS celebrates this legal decision which shows respect for the right to freedom of expression and the legitimate exercise of journalism. IPYS will continue to monitor the case following an appeal launched by the public prosecutor.

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