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Radio station owner suspends broadcasting of news programme after being pressured by mayor

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 24 September 2008, the owner of La Existosa radio station, Higinio Capuñay Zerpán, ordered the cancellation of the "El Látigo" news programme after its hosts, Víctor Manuel Vidaurre Ñopo and Jorge Pizarro García, criticised the local mayor, Anselmo Lozano Centurión, on issues regarding public security. The incident took place in Chiclayo, Lambayeque region, northern Peru.

The journalists told IPYS that, after taking the programme off the air, Capuñay met with them and reprimanded them for having criticised the mayor, who is one of the station's main advertisers. He then told them that they could no longer mention the mayor on their programme.

The journalists defended their right to express themselves freely and backed up their criticisms of the mayor with documentation. They finally reached an agreement which will allow them to continue broadcasting their news programme.

According to information provided to IPYS by several journalists, this is not the first time that mayor Lozano has pressured a media outlet. The journalists said off the record that any time he is criticised the mayor files a complaint and that he, inexplicably, always wins his case.

IPYS condemns any pressure tactics that may be used against the media and asks owners of media outlets not to allow themselves to be intimidated by government authorities who threaten to withdraw their advertising support when journalists scrutinise their administrations.

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