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Journalists receive death threats from protesters

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 9 December 2008, journalists from several media outlets in the city of Juanjuí told IPYS that they had received death threats, in addition to threats concerning possible attacks on their workplaces. The individuals behind the threats accused the journalists of failing to support a violent protest taking place that day, which left 14 wounded. Juanjuí is located in the San Martín region of northeastern Peru.

Leaders of Juanjuí's Civic Front, who called for the demonstration, accused the local press of opposing the population's demands and of covering up allegations of municipal corruption.

The threatened journalists are: Hubert Rodríguez Gómez and Alejandro Chumbe, of Radio Pajatén; Tito Arévalo Ríos, Chief of Public Relations in the Municipality of Juanjuí and a correspondent for América Televisión; Robinson Tuesta Caro and Raúl Mendoza, of Radio Antena 3 and Ramón Flores, a freelance journalist.

Rodríguez Gómez rejected the Civic Front's accusations, stating that they have always reported on corruption and that they were being accused of not supporting the population because they have spoken out against the violence exhibited during the protest. According to Rodríguez Gómez, the journalists were threatened in calls made to their cell phones. Threats stating that Radio Pajatén's facilities would be set on fire were also been received.

The journalists filed a complaint about the threats and asked for protection from the Juanjuí government.

The citizens of Juanjuí are waiting for the creation of an Executive High Level Commission to resolve the Civic Front's demands, which include a call for the resignation of Mayor Walter Hildebrandt Saavedra.

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