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Journalist sued over comments made on his programme; reporters attacked by presidential candidate's bodyguards

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 10 May 2011, journalist Hans Andrade Chávez, former host of the local news program "América Noticias", broadcast on América TV's subsidiary in Chepén, informed IPYS that he is facing a defamation suit in connection with statements attributed to him by Juan Vásquez Romero, a public official of the Chepén municipality, located in La Libertad region, northern Peru.

Andrade maintains that the accusation dates from the beginning of March, when he allowed Carla Rodríguez Ortiz, coordinator of a political party, to criticise Vásquez on his program. Rodríguez and Ortiz are political rivals and she has accused him of threatening to kill her.

The municipal official filed a suit against Andrade and not against Rodríguez. According to the journalist, Vásquez even sent a letter to América TV in Lima asking that Andrade's news program be cancelled, which occurred on 16 March.

Andrade has been summoned to a hearing on 16 June, but he is concerned that Vásquez and Chepén mayor Wilfredo Quesquén Terrones may unduly influence the outcome of the hearing. The journalist noted that some corrupted fragments of his program have been presented as evidence in the case.

In a separate incident, on 10 May, reporters José Luis Lizárraga and José Mandujano, of the Súper Éxito and Studio 99 radio stations, respectively, were assaulted by presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori's security team while they were covering a meeting in Satipo, Junín region, central Peru.

According to the 12 May edition of "La República" newspaper, the journalists were trying to film the bodyguards beating a demonstrator who threw eggs at the presidential candidate.

The article, which names Víctor Risco, image consultant of the Satipo Municipality, as a witness, reports that Lizárraga was not able to avoid the blows and was badly beaten. Mandujano was reportedly assisted by some local citizens.

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