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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

IAPA and Peruvian Press Council warn of increase in violence against journalists



The Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) and the Peruvian Press Council (CPP) have held a press conference to condemn the killing of the wife of journalist Gerson Fabián Cuba, Gloria Lima Calle, who was killed in an attack of the Radio Rumba office in the Pichanaki district of the Chanchamayo province, Junín.

The shots were meant for the journalist who hosted the station’s morning news show, but his wife threw herself into the line of fire, blocking both her husband and son, who was also in the studio.

Screen shot 2014-10-29 at 1.25.41 PM

SIP and CPP hold a press conference in Lima, from La República

The widower of Gloria Lima, Gerson Fabián Cuba, participated in the press conference, which was held in Lima to offer details on the attack to national media outlets. Addressing the press, he explained that in the weeks before municipal elections, held on Oct. 5, he had criticized Alfredo Torres Cano, a Pichanaki mayoral candidate from the Somos Peru Party, on his radio show.

Cuba said he had received death threats directly from Torres Cano. “I am going to burn you and nothing will happen,” the ex-candidate told the journalist on the phone, according to Cuba, adding “If you want to, record me.”

Those who took part in the press conference included one of Cuba’s colleagues, Rolando Campos Flores, as well as Gustavo Mohme Seminario, the president of the IAPA, and members of the Peruvian Press Council, a non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting freedom of expression in the country.

The president of the IAPA, who also directs the Peruvian newspaper La República, expressed his concern for the dangerous conditions faced by journalists working in different provinces.

“We are calling on the Minister of the Interior [Daniel Urresti] and we demand that the country’s Attorney General [Carlos Ramos Heredia] give a prompt response, and that the full weight of the law be applied to these killers,” said Mohme Seminario.

Seminario also showed his indignation with another public prosecutor, Raquel Miranda Aliaga, who is in charge of investigations. According to Gerson Fabián and Rolando Campo, the prosecutor “was asleep” when they gave her their statement. The president of IAPA emphasized the need for state institutions, such as the Department of Justice, to “give society clear signs in the face of serious events that affect the exercise of freedom of expression.”

The radio host of “Rumba de Noticias,” Gerson Cuba, also expressed concern for the safety of his son, who was a witness to the attack and who was able to identify one of the assassins. To date, only Marvin Mazuelos Cristobál has been arrested as a presumed co-author of the crime.

Following the fatal attack, similar concerns have extended to media workers across Peru. Journalists Ayacucho Paola Collazos and José Atauje, who work as correspondents for Canal N and América Televisión, also received death threats and anonymous messages on their cell phones after denouncing cases of corruption and drug trafficking.

Event organizers called on journalists, publications, and organizations who advocate for freedom of expression to demonstrate solidarity with their colleagues and to sign the Declaration of Pucallpa, a document that establishes an agreement between directors, editors, and journalists to make greater efforts to prevent crimes against the press from going unpunished in Peru.



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