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Municipal official threatens journalist for coverage of environmental damage

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 14 January 2009, the general manager of the Maynas Provincial Municipality, Rafael Saavedra, burst into La Voz de la Selva radio station's broadcasting booth and threatened journalist Mary Pérez, telling her to stop reporting on damages caused to the Allpahuayo Mishana nature reserve by a neighbouring garbage dump. The incident took place in Iquitos, northeastern Peru.

Saavedra went to the radio station with a group of municipal workers and threatened Pérez while she was interviewing a biologist and an environmental specialist about the damages caused to the national reserve.

Peréz said that the judiciary has ordered the closure of the garbage dump and that the municipality has to pay a fine of 7,000 soles (approx. US$2,200) per day for failing to comply with the court order.

Mayor Salomón Abensur Díaz also criticised Pérez, whom he described as a "white terrorist."

According to IPYS's 2008 Press Freedom Report, La Voz de la Selva held the record for the highest number of actions against it during the year, and its director, Pérez, received three death threats for investigating corruption cases.

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