Press Group: Three Peru Journalists Threatened in September

The International Press Institute, an Austrian-based press freedom organization, has reported that three Peruvian journalists received death threats in September, part of a deterioration in media freedom outside of capital Lima.

According to the IPI, journalist Kety Vela of Tocache, in the northern central jungle of the Upper Huallaga, reported receiving threatening phone calls since August. “She also said that an assassin had confessed to being paid more than $1,800 to kill her,” IPI said.

Vela began receiving the threats following a report on alleged links between drug traffickers and the mayor of Tocache.

In addition, radio journalists Segundo Alvines and Braulio Rojas in Bagua, in Amazonas region, said they had received threatening leaflets at their homes after reporting on municipal corruption allegations.

The death threats, which were detailed in an IPI report this week on press freedom in Latin America, are in addition to the killing of two journalists in Peru last month. “The printed flyers the journalists received told them to leave the news program and said they would be killed if they refused to do so,” IPI said.

Two other regional journalists were also reported as being intimidated in September, the organization said.

These incidents were in addition to the murder of two journalists in Peru in September, and the killing of another reporter earlier in the year.

In early September, television journalist Pedro Flores died from gunshot wounds. Flores, 36, covered farming news in the coastal town of Casma in Ancash region north of Lima for his own Vision Agraria show on TV. Police have been investigating whether the incident was politically motivated.

Shortly after, Jose Oquendo Reyes, a radio journalist in southern Chincha area, who was known for his critical reports on local authorities, was also gunned down.

Meanwhile, in May, radio journalist Julio Castillo was shot to death during lunch in the city of Viru, on the north coast in La Libertad department.

Since 1992, six journalists have been killed in Peru for their work, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

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