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Radio journalist under threat after revealing municipal "favouritism" case

(RSF/IFEX) - RSF is alarmed at the apparent death threats made against Julio César Mendoza Escobar, presenter of the programme "El matador" ("The killer"), broadcast on Radio Candela in Yurimaguas, northeastern Peru.

Two armed men turned up outside the journalist's home on 10 September 2007, apparently lying in wait for him, after he exposed fraud implicating municipal officials.

Mendoza was about to return home when a neighbour tipped him off that the men were outside his door, and that one had a revolver. Having been attacked a few weeks earlier and fearing for his safety, the journalist left his home and sought protection.

"We do not know if these men wanted to kill Julio César Mendoza Escobar or simply frighten him, but the case is extremely worrying," the worldwide press freedom organisation said. "We urge the authorities to carry out a thorough investigation and take steps to ensure the safety of this journalist, who is clearly being targeted because of his work."

The journalist recently reported on incidents of corruption, allegedly involving municipal officials. He accused the mayor of Alto Amazonas, Héctor Hidalgo Rojas, in particular, of having shown favouritism to an organisation which won the right to run the "Vaso de Leche" ("Glass of Milk") social programme in some local areas.

The journalist told RSF that since July he has received a number of threats aimed at silencing him. Mendoza said that the organisation systematically obtained contracts thanks to "arrangements" made with municipal officials who stood to gain from the programme.

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