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Investigative journalist threatened

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 4 September 2009, journalist Elías Asmat Goicochea, of the "Últimas Noticias" newspaper, reported that an unidentified man approached him to take his picture while he was having a conversation with Miguel Gómez, the secretary general of the provincial municipality of Pacasmayo. The incident took place in the city of San Pedro de Lloc, in the La Libertad region of northern Perú.

The journalist went to the municipality's headquarters to obtain information for an investigation the newspaper is conducting into the purchase by the municipality of a front end loader. Asmat told IPYS that when Gómez confronted the man, he said that the problem he had was with the journalist no the municipal secretary general.

"Últimas Noticias" is investigating the purchase of the front end loader, sold to the municipality by the Steel Industry company for US$118,000. According to the newspaper's investigation, the loader was overvalued.

Asmat told IPYS that another unidentified man appeared when he confronted the first one. Both of the men complained that because of him and the newspaper they had not been able to cash their cheques. They then threatened him, saying things like, "You don't know what kind of trouble you've entered into," and "I won't be the person who deals with you. There are other people who are going to deal with you." The threats were recorded by the journalist.

IPYS notes that is the second alert involving threats against the "Últimas Noticias" newspaper, which is constantly harassed because of its investigative work. IPYS demands that the authorities take take this case seriously in order to ensure that the media outlet can continue to carry out its work.

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