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Journalist Weston Jackson Ibarra Méndez receives death threats; municipal workers assault several reporters

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 19, 20 and 22 January 2009, journalist Weston Jackson Ibarra Méndez, the editor-in-chief of the "Zona Crítica" magazine, received death threats from a former student leader, Joel Minaya Serna, and his companion, Jonny Haro Mendoza. In addition to issuing the death threats, Minaya Serna and Haro Mendoza also destroyed the journalist's video camera. These incidents took place in the city of Huaraz, in the Áncash region, northwestern Peru.

Ibarra Méndez told IPYS that Minaya Serna threatened and assaulted him after he published an article in December 2008 alleging that the student leader had used funds from the Santiago Antúnez de Mayolo National University (Universidad Nacional Santiago Antúnez de Mayol, UNASAM) in an illegal manner.

The journalist requested and was granted protective measures by Governor Julio Romero Correa.

In a separate incident, on 10 February, journalists from several media outlets were verbally harassed and assaulted by a group of workers from the Municipality of Puno when they were covering a municipal council discussion about vacancies left by the departure of two pro-government councillors. The incident took place in the Puno region of southeastern Peru.

The assault was directed the most forcefully at Augusto Picona, of the Canal 45 television station, and Arnaldo Poma, of Canal 47, since the media outlets they work for are seen as being in opposition to Mayor David Mamani Paricahua's administration.

The municipal workers also stole Canal 45's video camera. None of the journalists have filed a complaint about the incident.

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