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Radio journalist receives threats after reporting on alleged misconduct by Loreto regional government

(IPYS/IFEX) - Since 7 April 2008, journalist Mary Pérez Cora, of the radio station Radio La Voz de la Selva, has been repeatedly insulted and threatened by telephone while hosting that station's news programme.

Pérez Cora suspects the threats are related to a news report, for which she was the principle investigator, broadcast by the station on 7 April, regarding the regional government of Loreto's alleged irregular purchase of five fuel-driven electrical generators used to power individual buildings a purchase made without the government's having conducted the required public bidding process. The report implicated regional president Iván Vásquez Valera, the representative of Volvo in Loreto, Rodolfo Deza, and the mayors of the districts of Urarinas and Putumayo, Humberto Marquillo and Atilio Cárdenas, respectively. The purchase is valued at 2 million soles (approx. US$740 thousand).

Pérez also told IPYS that since the report was broadcast, several radio stations (which, coincidentally, support the regional government) have initiated a campaign to discredit the owners of Radio La Voz de la Selva: the vicarages of Iquitos and San José del Amazonas.

The journalist also maintained that, a week after broadcasting the report, the president of the regional government denied knowing about the purchase and assured her that the Internal Control Office would investigate the case.

On18 April, Pérez Cora requested protection from the municipal authorities of Iquitos, the capital of Loreto, located in northeastern Peru.

IPYS expresses solidarity with the radio station's team of journalists and urges the authorities to provide adequate protection to Pérez Cora.

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