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Journalists Ranforte Lozano, Nobel Pandero and Cirilo Vásquez fear for their lives after being accused of collaborating with leader of terrorist organisation

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 6 February 2009, unidentified individuals distributed pamphlets accusing several journalists in the town of Aucayacu of collaborating with "comrade Artemio", a leader of the Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso, SL) terrorist group. Aucayacu is the capital of the José Crespo y Castillo district, in Huánuco region, an area where drug traffickers and members of the SL who are still active operate.

The pamphlet stated that "Artemio", the self-proclaimed secretary of the SL's Huallaga Regional Committee, is manipulating a sector of the press for political propaganda purposes.

The journalists in question are Ranforte Lozano, the host of Estación C radio station's "CP Noticias" programme, Nobel Panduro, a correspondent for Panamericana Televisión, and Cirilo Vásquez, of the La Luz radio station's "Luz en la Noticia" programme. The journalists were accused of endorsing "Artemio"s crimes in their programmes and were characterised as traitors for having conducted a telephone interview with the SL leader in 2008.

"We believe these journalists are betraying their people. At times the work of journalists is to inform, but these friends of 'Artemio' misinform us, they let this criminal say anything he wants and fail to ask objective questions (sic)," the pamphlet said.
Vásquez told IPYS that, on the night of 8 February, he received a threatening telephone call associated with the accusations in the pamphlets. He was told that both he and "Artemio" will "soon fall."

The journalists denied the accusations of collaborating with the SL leader and believe that their lives are in danger because of the pamphlet.

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