Peru’s President Dina Boluarte’s rocky relationship with the press

By June 14, 2024

Lima, Peru — Like her predecessor Pedro Castillo, Peru’s President Dina Boluarte maintains a rocky relationship with the press. 

She hasn’t addressed the news media since April, when she responded to the news of a preliminary investigation into expensive jewelry in her possession, and her approval ratings have recently plummeted, with just 5% of the population approving her administration’s work. 

The administration’s shutting out of the press, and accusations of mistreatment of journalists have drawn the ire of journalism watchdogs in the country. 

Read more: Criminal investigations and impeachment motions: Peru’s latest political crisis is unfolding 

On June 4, President Boluarte attended the inauguration of a primary school in Lima’s La Molina district. On her way out, she was bombarded with questions from the press about her nearly 60 days of silence towards the media. In passing, she responded, “Numbers don’t count, I will soon,” according to La República. 

Press associations like Press and Society Institute (IPYS) have complained about the president’s security detail cordoning off reporters so they can’t ask questions of the president. 

President Dina Boluarte attending an event in La Molina, Lima. Image credit: IPYS via X.

On the day of the event at the school in Lima, the National Association of Journalists (ANP), stated on X journalists from several media outlets were cordoned on a platform to prevent them from approaching the president and Minister of Education Morgan Quero. 

According to the ANP, as part of the security protocol for recent presidential activities, the press was “prevented from leaving the platform from Dina Boluarte’s arrival until she left [the stage].”

“The ANP condemns this new excess that obstructs informational activity,” wrote the press guild. “This is an intimidating practice towards those who carry out press work and demonstrates opacity in government management. The president has not responded to press questions for 60 days.” 

The event in La Molina wasn’t the first time the government has been accused of corralling journalists during official presidential events. On May 31, during a national emergency drill, journalists also complained about the president’s security apparatus impeding access to the press. 

According to the ANP and IPYS, the last time President Boluarte addressed the press was on April 5, 2024, when she responded to journalists’ questions about the so-called “Rolexgate” scandal. 

Read more: Expensive watchdogs: Peru’s Public Ministry investigates President Dina Boluarte’s Rolex

Days earlier, the Public Ministry had opened a preliminary investigation into expensive jewelry that the president was seen wearing at public events, including a Rolex watch reportedly valued at USD $14,000 in Peru. The investigation stemmed from a report from La Encerrona, an alternative media site founded by La República columnist Marco Sifuentes. 

The president initially said that the pieces were costume jewelry, but later admitted to the Public Ministry that they were real and were borrowed from Wilfredo Oscorima, the governor of the region of Ayacucho. Investigations are ongoing.