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Press workers barred from entering Chimbote police headquarters

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 6 March 2009, the Chief of Chimbote's Police Division (División Policial de Chimbote, DIVIPOL), Colonel Guillermo Vía Domínguez, prohibited the press from entering the division's headquarters, which house the emergency squadron and the police's inspection office, among others. Vía Domínquez said that the division headquarters are like his home, and permission must be requested and granted prior to entry. The incident took place in the city of Chimbote, Áncash region, in northwestern Peru.

Vía Domínquez ordered his subordinates not to allow the press in because it annoys him to see journalists walking around the premises. In accordance with the police chief's orders, the press can only gather information from the police through the Police Operations Head Office (Central de Operaciones Policiales, CEOPOL), since Vía Domínguez also decided to shut down the public relations office.

According to Chimbote journalists who cover police stories, the colonel made his decisions after several media outlets criticized the police's public safety record.

IPYS considers Colonel Vía Domínguez's orders to be arbitrary and urges him to withdraw them as they violate freedom of information rights.

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