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Journalist threatened, stones thrown at his home after he criticises former president Fujimori; radio station attacked after accusing former mayor of corruption

(IPYS/IFEX) - In the early hours of 9 April 2009, unidentified individuals threw stones at Radio Libertad journalist Walter Castillo Chávez's home in Arequipa, a city in southern Peru. Nobody was hurt, but the windows in the house were shattered. Castillo Chávez told IPYS that he had received threatening telephone calls a few days earlier, demanding that he stop criticising former president Alberto Fujimori on his programme after Fujimori was sentenced to 25 years in prison. The journalist is not ruling out the possibility that the threats and the attack on his house may be related.

In the afternoon before the attack to his house, the journalist hosted a controversial debate between Fujimori defenders and detractors.

Castillo Chávez filed a complaint about the attack on his home and the threats with the police in Alto Selva Alegre, the jurisdiction in which his home is located.

In a separate incident, on 15 April, a group of supporters of the former mayor of Huarmey, Pedro Gorki Tapia Marcelo, attempted to enter the facilities of Radio Manantial radio station in an attempt to attack the station's personnel and destroy its equipment. Two days later, unidentified individuals cut a cable that supported the station's broadcasting antenna, causing the suspension of Radio Manantial's signal. The cable was replaced a few hours later. The station had accused Tapia Marcelo of corruption, which resulted in his removal from office on 11 April. Huarmey is located in the Áncash region, in northwestern Peru.

The radio station constantly monitors government activities. The station has endured harassment ever since Alberto Fernando Egúsquiza, a journalist whose programme is broadcast by the station, reported on the mayor's alleged corruption. Radio Manantial is a member of the National Radio Coordinating Committee (Coordinadora Nacional de Radio, CNR). The CNR's director, Óscar Fajardo, told IPYS that the former mayor has filed a lawsuit against Radio Manantial but has not been able to refute the accusations made by the station.

IPYS condemns this kind of harassment which limits the freedom of expression and the right of citizens to be informed. The organisation requests that the authorities investigate the case and sanction those responsible for the actions against the radio station.

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