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Reporter assaulted, television station's vehicle damaged during demonstration in Lima; journalist threatened in San Francisco for criticising illegal coca farming

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 9 July 2008, a group of demonstrators vandalised a Canal N television station van after the leader of the Peruvian General Workers' Confederation (Confederación General de Trabajadores del Perú, CGTP), Domingo Cabrera, incited them to action by stating that the station was misinforming the public about the national strike organised by the union. The incident occurred in the center of Lima.

The demonstrators let the air out of the vehicle's tires and tried to break the broadcasting antenna. They also threw rocks at the van. Technician Carlos Olmedo was inside the van at the time, waiting for the reporters' instructions to broadcast information.

América Televisión reporter Karina Novoa tried to cover the incident but she was assaulted by the protestors.

Both television stations condemned the attack during their coverage of the strike.

In a separate case, on the morning of 9 July, journalist Dante Espeza of the Inforegión press agency received a threatening phone call while he was on air hosting the "Tribuna Libre" programme. The programme is broadcast on La Pegajosa radio station, based in San Francisco, in the Apurímac River and Ene River Valley (VRAE).

The caller questioned his opposition to illegal coca leaf plantations and to drug trafficking in the region.

Espeza believes that coca growers' associations or drug traffickers from the Vizcatán region may be behind the call.

Practicing journalism in the VRAE is risky, due to the presence of drug traffickers, terrorists and organised crime.

IPYS calls on the authorities to be on the alert in case of a possible attack on the journalist.

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