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Journalists harassed, subject to death threats after reporting on corruption allegations against Cusco mayor

(IPYS/IFEX) - Since the final week of May 2008, several journalists have been receiving death threats and have been harassed and followed after reporting about a political crisis confronting the mayor of Cusco, Marina Sequeiros, involving allegations of nepotism, embezzlement and corruption. Cusco is located in southern Peru.

Sequeiros was accused by a citizen, José Vidal, who presented a request for her removal from office before the National Elections Jury (Jurado Nacional de Elecciones). The case was widely covered by local and national media.

Panamericana TV cameraman Aldo Rodrigo told IPYS that he has received at least four death threats by telephone. Guillermo Zora, a correspondent for the television station Canal N, stated that he has also received threats and that he is being followed by several unidentified individuals. "Correo" newspaper correspondent Percy Hurtado reported being subjected to similar harassment. Carolina Zamalloa, a journalist with the television station TV Sur, has received telephone calls from people accusing her of inciting the public against the mayor.

The journalists have filed formal complaints about these incidents in the hope that the authorities will take actions to protect them.

Other journalists, who prefer to remain anonymous, told IPYS that they have been followed by municipal police officers.

IPYS urges the authorities to ensure the safety of journalists, especially as the dismissal process against the mayor proceeds on 30 June 2008.

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