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Massacre of journalists, allegedly by military, still unpunished after 25 years; IFJ calls for action

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is a 22 January 2008 IFJ media release:

IFJ Calls for Global Action on Impunity to Mark Anniversary of Media Massacre in Peru

The International Federation of Journalists has called on journalists' unions to support a global day of action on Saturday to renew efforts to combat impunity and to mark the anniversary of a media massacre in Latin America.

The IFJ has also welcomed today's launch of a special book in Lima marking the 25th anniversary of a tragic incident when eight journalists and a media worker were brutally killed by Peruvian terrorists.

The killings, which took place in Uchuraccay, an Andean region where Sendero Luminoso guerrillas were active, on 26 January 1983, shocked journalists across Latin America. The atrocity has never been fully investigated and the killers were never brought to justice confirming a trend of impunity that continues to the present day, says the IFJ.

"IFJ unions around the world mark this tragic and cruel event by demanding fresh actions to challenge all killers of journalists," said Jim Boumelha, President of the IFJ. "Impunity is a stain on the fabric of democracy and an intolerable injustice for media workers and their families."

The IFJ and its unions are writing to Peruvian President Alan Garcia to honour the anniversary by taking new steps to solve 54 other cases of journalists killed or disappeared in Peru that remain unsolved.

The day of action is supported by the IFJ's regional group, Federación de Periodistas de América Latina y el Caribe (FEPALC) and the Asociación Nacional de Periodistas del Perú (ANP) which is organising events around the Uchuraccay anniversary.

The tribute book, prepared by ANP President Roberto Mejía Alarcón, is being presented today at a ceremony at the Jaime Bausate Y Meza journalism school. Assisting at the ceremony will be Gregorio Salazar, the Venezuelan Director of the IFJ Regional Office in Caracas. The book honours journalists Jorge Sedano Falcón (La República), Eduardo de la Piniella Palao (El Diario de Marka), Willy Retto Torres (El Observador), Pedro Sánchez Gavidia (El Diario de Marka), Amador García Yanque (Oiga), Jorge Luis Mendivil Trelles (El Observador), Félix Gavilán Huamán (El Diario de Marka), Octavio Infante García (Panorama de Huamanga) and their guide, Juan Argumedo.

They were attacked and murdered while on assignment in an investigation into killings of peasants which took them high into the Andes. The murders were investigated by a commission headed by writer Mario Vargas Llosa, who held that indigenous peasants of Uchuraccay were responsible, but photographs taken during his last minutes by one of the victims suggest there was military participation, which relatives to this day believe was the case. The ANP, working with relatives, has planned a series of activities for the anniversary, including a visit to the site of the tragedy where a monument is being built.

To read the letter to the president see:
http://www.ifj.org/pdfs/Letter%20to%20Garcia%20Peru.pdf

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide.

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