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Journalist attacked by criminal's relative; columnist accused of defamation

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 19 October 2009, Jairo Vásquez Vela, a journalist for radio station La Exitosa and the TV station Canal 43 program "Tribuna Popular", was hit by a relative of the criminal Jair Ardela Michue, who is accused of belonging to an international gang of hired killers and drug traffickers.

The incident took place when the journalist was covering the transfer of the accused, who was having health problems, to a hospital in the city of Iquitos, Loreto region, in eastern Peru.

Vásquez Vela told IPYS that Ardela's sister came after him and, together with another person, hit him and pushed him in an attempt to take his video recorder from him. The police, who were guarding the accused, had to intervene to protect the reporter.

In a separate incident, on 14 October, Renso López Liñán, medical doctor and former administrator of the Social Security Health System (EsSalud), filed a lawsuit against journalist Nancy Alarcón Chong accusing her of defamation. The suit was filed at the Second Criminal Court of Maynas, in the Loreto region, presided by Judge María Esther Felices Mendoza.

The former civil servant filed the lawsuit against the journalist after she broadcast an investigation that implicated the doctor in the irregular authorisation of the handing over of EsSalud medication to a private clinic that belongs to his brother. The results of Alarcón Chong's investigation were broadcast during the 7 September edition of her Perú TV Channel 19 program "En Directo".

Nancy Alarcón backed up her accusations against the doctor with audio recordings, videos and documentation. After the investigation was broadcast, the doctor was dismissed from his position.

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