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Radio station threatened with arson, destruction of broadcasting tower; station suspects mayor involved

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 28 and 29 October 2007, the manager of Radio Panorama, Armandina Casafranca Montes, reported to IPYS that unidentified individuals phoned the radio station and threatened to burn and destroy its broadcasting tower situated on the San José hill, in the city of Andahuaylas in the Apurímac region, southeastern Peru.

Casafranca Montes accused the mayor of Andahuaylas, Manuel Molina, of making the threat. The radio station has been involved in a dispute with him over the ownership of the land on which the broadcasting tower is located.

According to Casafranca, on 23 October Molina went to another local radio station and, during a live programme, threatened to remove Radio Panorama's broadcasting tower from the land in question on 4 November. He also urged the city's inhabitants to participate in such an action. The station's team of journalists backed the manager's account of the events.

The government of Andahuaylas has taken measures to protect Casafranca.

IPYS believes that any threat to destroy a media outlet constitutes, in and of itself, a limitation on press freedom, regardless of the underlying motive for it.

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