President opposes 'gagging law'
17 June 2018
A piece of legislation proposed by Mauricio Mulder has been approved by Congress in spite of firm opposition from President Martín Vizcarra. This is the so-called ‘Ley de Mordaza’ (or Gagging Law), sometimes also referred to as the Ley Mulder; it seeks to prohibit the use of state publicity in privately-owned media outlets. It was passed by a substantial majority on 14 June.
Vizcarra is quoted as saying that it is inappropriate to limit the state’s ability to provide information to citizens. “We are in disagreement with this norm” he said “the state should have the facility to communicate to the people everything that is required for it to fulfil its objectives”. He may therefore refuse to promulgate the new law.
Mulder’s law has been energetically opposed by the media, especially by those that adopt a critical posture towards Fuerza Popular and its APRA allies. Opposition journalists and commentators have come under ever more aggressive attacks from leading members of the Fujimorista circle in Congress in recent weeks.
José Luis Saca, president of the International Radio Association, claims that the bill is unconstitutional and would be an unprecedented attack on the freedom of the media in Latin America.
The state-owned media reach only a tiny proportion of the population. Newspapers and radio, meanwhile, are highly dependent on state publicity to fund their activities.
The bill is widely viewed as seeking to thwart those sectors of the media that have been most critical of the Fujimoristas. The Instituto de Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS), the Consejo de Prensa, and the Sociedad Nacional de Radio y TV have issued a statement criticising what they see as a serious attack on press freedom.