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Political pressure forces radio station to fire journalist in Peru

(IPYS/IFEX) - 13 September 2012 - On Tuesday 11 September 2012, journalist Yanina Poveda Mercedes, director and presenter of Radio Swing of Cajabamba program “Con-tacto Informativo”, told IPYS that she was fired that same day because of the alleged political pressure of four local mayors in the Cajamarca region of northern Peru.

The journalist told IPYS that the station's owner, whose name she preferred not to mention, said he decided to close down the program because she showed little respect when referring to authorities.

Poveda Mercedes added she believes that the provincial mayor of Cajabamba, Wilson Pesantes Alayo and his colleagues in the districts of Cachachi, Freddy Martina Chup; Condebamba, Carlos Llano Torres; and Sitacocha, Robert Salazar Vera, whom she has criticized and even denounced for alleged corruption, are behind her dismissal.

In November 2011 the journalist denounced Mayor Pesantes before the Prosecutor's Office for allegedly having favored four material-extraction companies that extracted aggregates from a river, without applying the parameters required by law, as part of a local public work valued in 39 million soles (approx. US$15,000).

Poveda Mercedes said she was fired previously from radio stations Jaciel and Julises, according to her, because of pressure exerted not just by those mayors, but also judges and prosecutors who intimidated the media owners. Now she does not know if any independent outlet will work with her.

IPYS deplores any kind of political pressure exerted on the media that seeks to limit journalists' freedom of expression.

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