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Peru26 October 2005

Reporter continues to get threatening SMS messages

Reporter Julia Saldaña of the La República newspaper continues to be the target of threatening SMS text messages sent to the mobile phones of family members. The messages warn her that people plan to discredit her by meddling in her private life. Saldaña said she is not sure who is sending the messages but notes that they began after she wrote stories about irregularities in certain regional state bodies. She fears for her life, she said.

14.09.05 - Death threats against two journalists in Amazonian northeast

Reporters Without Borders today condemned the death threats and intimidation targeted in the past few days and weeks against two journalists working in the northeastern Amazonian departments of Loreto and Ucayali, Julia Saldaña Eguren of the national daily La República and Rodolfo Lobo Tello of radio Feroz de Contamana.

“Northern Peru has become a minefield for the media,” the organisation said. “Harassment, intimidation and attacks against journalists have increased to such a degree that they threaten the freedom of the press. We once again call on the police and judicial authorities to punish those responsible and ensure that journalists in this part of the country are safe.”

Saldaña, who is her newspaper’s correspondent in Iquitos (the capital of Loreto), reported on 7 September that she had received repeated threats during the past month in the form of SMS messages sent to the mobile phone of her father, Elmer Saldaña Ruiz. The messages said she would be killed if she did not leave the region.

Then, on 12 September, she reported that a suspicious-looking pickup truck was seen driving around near her home. She attributes the threats to articles she wrote for La República exposing administrative irregularities in the Loreto departmental government and the Maquía district municipal government, including questionable contracts for the building of a stadium in Iquitos.

The manager of radio Feroz de Contamana, Lobo was threatened on the night of 8 September at his home in Contamana (in Ucayali department) by an anonymous caller who blamed him for the collapse of his business. Lobo attributed the threat to his recent radio reports about drug trafficking that led to the arrests of several suspected traffickers.

Reporters Without Borders has registered a total of 36 cases of verbal threats or physical attacks against Peruvian journalists so far this year. The National Association of Peruvian Journalists (ANP) has registered a total of 66 press freedom violations in the same period.

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