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Journalists assaulted in separate incidents in Iquitos, Tocache and Casma

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 2 July 2008, Mayra Azán Mestanza, host of the Arpegio radio station programme "La Voz de la Calle", was struck and insulted by lawyer Gino Cárdenas Pezo's wife and daughter. The journalist wanted to question the lawyer about allegations he was failing to pay support for two children he has had outside of the marriage. The incident took place in Iquitos, Loreto region, northeastern Peru.

Yerica Gutiérrez Arirama, Cárdenas Pezo's former partner, called the journalist to voice her complaint about the lawyer. The journalist went to the lawyer's home to ask for his comments on the allegations. Azán Mestanza told IPYS that when she arrived at the home she was received by his wife, Sandra López, who, on discovering the motive for the visit, charged at the journalist and hit her in the face and body. The couple's daughter then arrived and also assaulted Azán Mestanza.

The journalist has filed a complaint with the Punchana police station.

In a separate incident, on 8 July, Peter Donato, journalist and host of the "Contacto con el Pueblo" programme, broadcast on Radio Concierto radio station, was stopped in the street by teacher Tony Lenin Rodríguez Portocarrero, who insulted and then head-butted him. The incident occurred in the town of Tocache, San Martín region, northeastern Peru.

According to the journalist, the attack was in response to his reports about alleged irregularities in the hiring of teachers in the San Martín region, in which Rodríguez Portocarrero is implicated.

Donato had reported on complaints against the teacher by parents from the Santa Rosa de Mishoyo village, who accused him of not fulfilling his duties and constantly arriving late. Rodríguez Portocarrero was disqualified by the Ministry of Education after failing an evaluation.

In a separate development, on 9 July, a group of demonstrators marching in support of the national strike threw yellow paint at Antonio Azalde, journalist and editor-in-chief of "El Guerrero" newspaper, then knocked him to the ground, hitting him on the head and the right arm. The event took place in the northwestern town of Casma, Ancash region.

Azalde told IPYS that just prior to the assault, César Shuan, one of the protest organisers, rebuked the journalist and demanded that he stop filming and photographing the march. When the journalist refused to comply, Shuan instructed his group to go after him.

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