Inter-American Press Association worried about growing number of acts of aggression against journalists in Peru

There is growing concern about the increase in the number of cases of journalists violently attacked and threatened with death in reprisal for their work, the Inter-American Press Association, or IAPA, said in its Report to the Midyear Meeting.

One outstanding case is journalist Julio Vasquéz Calle, who said that he has received numerous death threats since he  and at least 28 members of a peasant community charged police and Majaz mining camp security guards of torturing them during a quelled protest in 2005.

Calle, who works for the Piura-based Cutivalú Radio, and Peruvian human rights groups had held a press conference last January in Peru’s capital, Lima, and made public a series of photographs taken during the torture.

Published and broadcast widely in the Peruvian media, the photos — which were likely taken by police and anonymously sent to the National Human Rights Coordinator, or CNDDHH — show men and women with plastic trash bags pulled over their heads and their hands tied behind their backs, and police officers posing with some of the women’s underwear.

Three days of beatings allegedly left one detainee dead, and three others missing.

Journalist Mary Pérez, reports the IAPA, has received repeated death threats after she reported that a municipal garbage dump site was encroaching on the Allpahuayo Natural Reserve. Pérez is a radio journalist for the Radio La Voz de La Selva in the Amazon region city of Iquitos.

Jorge Moncada, a journalist for daily El Ciclón, said he was assaulted by police who insisted that he reveal the identity of a source who gave him information about the murder of a prominent sugar refinery manager in the city of Chiclayo.

In the district of Pichanaqui, in the province of Chanchamayo, journalist Tobías Zevallos Cabello — director of Radio Fiesta — has said that he was brutally assaulted by the head of the municipal police, after he reported that a police officer shot a local resident.

In addition to the increase in the number of cases of journalists attacked or threatened, the IAPA is also concerned about the Peruvian government pressuring journalists to reveal their sources of phone tapped conversations that revealed an oil concession kickback scheme that rocked Peru President Alan García’s administration last year.

Pablo O’Brien, an investiagative reporter for daily El Comercio told CPN Radio that attempts by lawmakers probing the illegal phone tapping to coerce him and his former boss, Fernando Ampuero, into revealing their sources “absurd.”

Both journalists have said that they have since been tailed on the streets, and daily Peru21’s editor, Dan Flores, has said that he has received many death threats for his reporting on the scandal.

The Inter American Press Association was established in 1942 to defend and promote the right of the peoples of the Americas to be fully and freely informed through an independent press. This right is basic to the survival of a free society and individual liberty.

Sharing is caring!

Comments are closed.