“We are deeply concerned by these new crimes that on our exact day of celebration shock and underscore the fact that this is a risky profession,” said IAPA president Gonzalo Marroquín in a press release by the group. Robert Rivard, head of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, urged officials in Peru and Brazil to “promptly investigate in order to determine the motives and bring the perpetrators and masterminds to justice.”
On May 3rd, Brazilian journalist Valério Nascimento was gunned down in front of his house in Rio de Janeiro state while Peruvian radio host Julio Castillo Narváez was killed by four unknown gunmen as he was eating in a restaurant. Both men had recently denounced corruption by local officials; in the case of Castillo Narváez, he received numerous death threats on his cell phone and he sought police protection.
The murder of Castillo Narváez comes amid a contentious presidential election between Ollanta Humala and Keiko Fujimori. Both candidates have pledged not to infringe on the rights of the press if elected to the presidency. Fujimori promised that she would not have “close ties to media owners” similar to that of her father, disgraced and imprisoned ex-president Alberto Fujimori. Humala also alluded to the ex-leader, when said that if he were elected he would not act “like in the 1990s when...(the press) was mistreated and stepped on.”
According to one leading Peruvian press group, members of the media have faced their share of difficulties:
A total of 82 attacks were committed against Peruvian journalists in the first four months of 2011 (almost one every 36 hours) according to a report prepared by…the National Association of Peruvian Journalists…Meanwhile, an IAPA delegation was in Argentina this week to investigate what supporters of the country’s largest circulation newspapers, Clarin and La Nacion, claimed infringements on the press. The administration of President Cristina Fernandez contends that it’s necessary to break up the media monopolies in order to diversify the press.
Acts of physical aggression and verbal attacks lead with 37 cases, followed by threats and harassment (17) and administrative pressure/layoffs (15).
Image- RPP (Collection of several of the main Peruvian dailies).
Online Sources- Inter-American Press Association, EFE, Univision.com, France24, El Comercio, La Republica, Cronica Viva, Canadian Press,