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Threats and attacks against journalists who criticised mayor

(IPYS/IFEX) - Manuel Saldaña García and Julio César Mendoza Escobar, presenters of radio station Nova Star program "El Matador", were attacked in the street by eight men. The incident took place on 5 March 2011 in the city of Yurimaguas, Alto Amazonas province, Loreto region, in northeastern Peru.

The journalists were returning home on a motorbike when two men on another motorbike crossed in front of them in an attempt to cut them off. Mendoza, who was driving the bike, was able to avoid them at first, but another six men appeared who punched and kicked Saldaña until he was unconscious. During the incident, the men tried to take Mendoza's laptop and snatched Saldaña's journalistic material from him.

Saldaña was taken to a hospital's emergency service where he received first aid treatment. He had to remain in the hospital because of blood pressure related complications.

The journalists blame the aggression on persons linked to the Alto Amazonas Provincial Municipality because earlier that day they had discussed on their radio program irregularities allegedly committed by the mayor, Juan Daniel Mesía Camus.

Roger Maslucán Marchan, the manager of Radio La Caribeña, who is close to Mayor Mesía Camus, was among the assailants, according to the accusation filed with the National Police and the Public Prosecutor's Office. Also involved was one of Maslucán Marchan's sons, who currently works at the Municipality.

Journalist Teobaldo Meléndez Fachín also denounced in his Radio y Televisión Ribereña program "Ribereña Noticias" that he has received death threats via text messages sent to his cell phone and anonymous phone calls, as well as direct threats from people who work at the Alto Amazonas Provincial Municipality, because of his criticism of the same mayor.

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