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Journalist threatened after reporting on cancelled municipal project in Peru

On 18 May 2013, journalist Mauro Cecilio Ccapa Zapana, a correspondent for the newspaper Los Andes in the province of Lampa, was verbally threatened by María Quispe Quisocala, the local mayor's secretary, apparently because the journalist published information about the Public Treasury and some municipal projects. The incident took place in the Puno region of southern Peru.

Ccapa Zapana told IPYS that the threat occurred when he was scheduling an interview with Lampa's deputy mayor, Daniel Ezequiel Alí Chacra. The two men were talking when María Quispe called the journalist's name and then approached him telling him to beware because otherwise she was going to kill him with her own hands.

IPYS called the mayor of Lampa repeatedly to ask for his version of his secretary's threat. However, we received no reply and the secretary just stated she would not say anything about the matter.

The journalist had recently criticized the fact that 5,121 soles set aside for drinking water projects had been cancelled and returnted to the Public Treasury. The projects were to be carried out in the communities of Huayllani and Tumaruma. Local leader Hañari Monzón has faced a series of criticisms from the communities during the last few weeks because of this.

The Huayllani and Tumaruna communities live in extreme poverty. Their nearly 700 people have been demanding drinking water for years. When they learned that the municipality had returned the project funds that would have benefitted them, they planned a strike against the municipality.

Regarding the death threat, the journalist filed a formal complaint on 20 May at the police station in Juliaca and delivered as evidence a video in which the secretary is seen making warning signs with her right forefinger.

IPYS condemns the death threats received by Ccapa Zapana and requests the relevant authorities diligently investigate the case and provide protection for the journalist's life.

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