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Speeches in Signing of Agreements

Signing of Agreement with the Peruvian Press Council
Speech by CVR President

The task charged to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is of such nature and dimension that it can only be fully complied with through the participation of the whole society. The Commission members have been convinced of this fact from the first day. This is why we assume the establishment of firm dialogue and cooperation links with organizations that represent society as a priority.

Among these entities, the mass media have a particularly relevant position now. As we have had the chance to point out in the days concluding today, there is a substantial affinity between the Commission’s purposes and the principles underpinning journalism. I certainly refer to the central place that truth has in our efforts. As we know, our mission is multiple, but it could have a central task which is finding out the truth on the violence acts occurred between 1980 and 2000 and expose it before the whole country. To reach these objectives we need the cooperation of mass media that, like us, has truthfulness as their flag.

Besides, we must take into account that the facts that we would clarify are terrible: we speak about unspeakable transgressions against the people’s elementary rights; we speak about crimes committed with a degree of cruelty that is hard to conceive among civilized beings; we speak about deep sufferings that linger still today in the victims’ memory. If it is so, unreserved truthfulness must clearly go with another virtue, measure, balance and information. Nothing would damage this important collective introspection process more than permitting it to become the pretext for sensationalism, that distortion of journalism that, even founded on facts, is a way to make truth opaque.

The agreement we sign today with the Peruvian Press Council is enormously valuable for us, because in this way we relate precisely with information media that come out in the national information panorama for their constant and brave practice of truthfulness and prudence. There is, then, a coincidence of principles that we are sure, will permit the Commission to reach the country fairly and on a timely basis as all its acts and efforts aim at.

We must highlight another attribute of mass media making up the Peruvian Press Council: they understand that informing facts is not the only service journalism can render to society, but that the press has a possibility of promoting morally and socially valuable causes for public interest and promoting the participation of citizens in the defense of said causes. By doing so, the mass media transcend their informative work to become true agents for strengthening human society and, therefore, democracy.

This is particularly relevant for the Commission. As we have remembered, we conceive our task as a collective mission. We are persuaded that only society’s participation will permit our work to be truly fertile. Therefore, we trust that the media making up the Peruvian Press Council will know how to help us wake the citizens’ sensitiveness on the need of rescuing truth, of offering moral repair to victims and of advancing towards true national reconciliation. That sensitivity is essential so that the result of the process we have started is received as their own by all citizens.

Likewise, it is clear that the truth we offer to the whole country must be reached starting from the testimonies of those involved in violence acts and mainly from the victims. Therefore, it is essential to have most of the affected participate. We need their testimonies and cooperation so that the entire truth comes out. To do so, the clear and simple dissemination of our objectives and the terms of our call will be of valuable aid.

The agreement we sign at this moment is for us, hence, a true motive of optimism that we thank deeply. The alliance being formally established today between the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the mass media represented by the Peruvian Press Council provides us with the certainty that, in fact, our efforts will help Peru recover its historic and moral memory and, from that memory help Peruvians build a future peace and society that is a space for human realization for all.

Salomon Lerner Febres
Truth and Reconciliation Commission