Peru - Impunity blamed for a new wave of threats and attacks on provincial journalists



    MONTREAL, Sept. 9 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders is concerned
about a new outbreak of physical attacks and threats on the news media since
the end of August, which is indicative of the police and judicial laxness
towards those responsible for violence against journalists.
    "Journalists are once again being used as whipping boys by irate
officials, disgruntled political and union activists, coca growers upset by
threats to their interests, and police who abuse their authority," Reporters
Without Borders said. "The fact that those responsible for these attacks are
often officials or politicians tends to discourage prosecutions, which makes
it more likely that they recur."
    Reporters Without Borders added: "A supreme court decision on 11 June to
uphold 17 and 15-year prison sentences for two military personnel convicted of
the 1988 murder of Caretas magazine correspondent Hugo Bustios poses a serious
challenge to the prevailing impunity. A similar stand is needed with these
attacks on journalists, all of which also constitute press freedom
violations."
    According to the Press and Society Institute (IPYS), a Peruvian press
freedom organisation, and the National Association of Journalists (ANP), at
least nine journalists have been the target of threats or violence since the
end of August.
    Reporter Felipe Tipian Ramirez and cameraman Charles Cubas Ojanama of TV
Tarapoto, a privately-owned regional television station based in Tarapoto, in
the northern region of San Martin, were assaulted on 30 August by lawyer
Lister Celis Vela as his client, San Martin University rector Alfredo
Quinteros Garcia, was being brought into a police station to be arrested for
alleged irregularities in his reelection.
    Dante Francisco Espeza of La Pegajosa, a regional radio station based
near the southern city of Ayacucho, received a threatening phone call on 2
September after criticising illegal coca farming and drug trafficking on the
air earlier in the day. The caller threatened to kill him and said he was
familiar with all of his family's movements. Espeza was threatened in a
similar fashion on 9 July.
    Journalist Percy Uriarte was hit several times when around 50 truck
drivers stormed into the offices of the daily Ahora in the northern city of
Bagua Grande on 2 September and threatened to set fire to the premises because
it reported that local road haulers were being used to transport drugs.
    Cameraman Walter Macuyama of Canal 19, Henry Sanchez of Canal 43 and
Gustavo Vasquez and Patricia Macedo of Panamericana Television were attacked
and beaten on 3 September in the northeastern city of Iquitos by health
workers striking for better conditions who clashed with fellow workers opposed
to the strike.
    Radio Frecuencia 1000 manager and presenter Filomeno Quispe Flores was
attacked and injured by Justo Mayta Livici, the mayor of Paucarpata (a
district near the southern city of Arequipa), while covering a municipal
council meeting on 4 September. The mayor had already taken Quispe to task
after an interview last June.




For further information:

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

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