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Regional government workers assault reporters Marco Sánchez and Reynaldo Poma; copies of bulletin that covered university corruption allegations seized by security guard

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 24 February 2009, Radio Uno reporters Marco Sánchez and Reynaldo Poma were harassed and assaulted by a group of individuals who work for the Tacna regional government. The incident took place when the reporters were covering an attempt at dialogue between the region's authorities and students and workers from the Tacna Center for Agricultural Training (Centro de Formación Agrícola de Tacna, CFAT) after complaints surfaced about a series of irregularities in the institution's administration. On 23 February, Radio Uno broadcast the CFAT students and workers' allegations of financial mismanagement at the institute, which is administered by the Tacna regional government. Tacna is located in southern Peru.

Radio Uno was conducting a live broadcast of the CFAT demonstrators' demands and their attempt to talk to the authorities outside the regional government's headquarters, when Freddy Cabrera, the regional manager for economic development, began to harass the leader of the students and workers, Maribel Rivera, threatening to have her fired. As this was taking place, a group of government workers rushed at the Radio Uno reporters, insulting and intimidating them to stop them from continuing their coverage.

Regional Vice-President Pedro Liendo, however, stepped in to stop the assault, noting that he considered the actions against the reporters to be an attack on the press and its right to report on issues that are of interest to the community.

In a separate incident, on 23 February, journalist Engels Ortiz, the editor of the "E-Huacho" bulletin - which covers university-related issues - reported that copies of the publication were seized by security personnel from the José Faustino Sánchez Carrión University when they were being distributed to students. The incident took place in Huacho, a town in the Lima region.

Ortiz believes that the copies of the bulletin were seized in order to stop students from reading about an impending intervention by the authorities in the affairs of the state-run university because of a large number of complaints about corruption and embezzlement.

The journalist told IPYS that Guido Espinoza, a security guard at the university, seized the copies of the bulletin as they were being handed out by Mirtha Salvador, saying that their distribution was illegal.

Salvador filed a complaint about the incident at the Huacho police station.

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