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Television station's antenna shut down following critical report on former government official

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 8 September 2009, the antenna of the Canal 19 television station, in the city of Iquitos, Loreto, in northeastern Peru, was shut down. According to a notarized letter sent to the media outlet, the measure was taken because the station does not have a contract with the building where the antenna operated and because of a debt owed to the building's owner, Renzo López Liñán, the former manager of the social security system EsSalud.

The day before the notice was received, Canal 19 broadcast a report accusing the former government official of corruption and influence peddling during his time as EsSalud manager.

EsSalud owns the building where Canal 19's antenna operated.

According to López, the station owes the building more than US$4,000.

Canal 19 denied López's version, claiming that a contract for the installation and operation of the antenna in the building does exist, at a monthly cost of US$500.00.

Journalist Nancy Alarcón, anchorwoman of the Canal 19 programme "En Directo", said the measure was retaliation for the station's report broadcast on 7 September, which alleged that López had allowed medication belonging to EsSalud to be delivered to a private clinic owned by his brother, using the social security system's ambulances.

After the report was broadcast, López went on the Astoria radio station to accuse the journalist of asset laundering to pay for her companies.

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