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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Killing of photojournalist provokes debate on insecurity in Peru



Photo of Luis Choy. Source: Facebook group, "Justicia para Luis Choy."

On Saturday, Feb. 23, two gunmen shot and killed a Peruvian photojournalist for the newspaper El Comercio, reported the website Perú 21. The attack sparked debate about the public's security, the risks journalists run and how the media covers violence. 

Initial reports suggested the suspects killed photographer Luis Choy in a robbery attempt that included his car, according to the website. As the most recent attack in a wave of insecurity that has rocked the country over the last few days, which included the killing of a businessman and a police officer trying to stop a robbery, the journalist's death provoked the ire of those calling on the government to do more to fight crime, reported Perú 21, La Prensa and other media. 

The case, however, is not cut and dry. The police ruled out robbery as the motive for the killing after none of the journalist's belongings were found missing. They also suggested that Choy might have spoken to his assailants before, reported the newspaper El Popular. 

During a vigil, other photojournalists and friends of the deceased held signs reading, "Our shots don't kill: Luis Choy, Justice," and demanded action from the police and judicial authorities, reported the website La Prensa. "As a profession, we demand the authorities do something, that they act and find those responsible as soon as possible," said a member of the Peruvian Association of Photojournalists, according to El Comercio.  

The media did not escape scorn. The photojournalist collective NN Fotógrafos slammed the country's media over how it covers violence, reported Perú 21. The organization faulted the media's emphasis on misfortune while not criticizing the government's role in it. "Everyday they show the blood of the less fortunate, everyday journalists should remind the public and the government of President Ollanta Humala that we live in an unsafe country," the group said on its website.   

President Humala responded to the journalist's killing, urging police to solve the crime, reported the website Trome. As a result, the police announced a special team charged with investigating the journalist's death, reported El Comercio. 

 



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