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Peru29 November 2007

Murder attempt against a journalist under threat from a local lobbying organisation

Reporters Without Borders today strongly condemned a murder attempt against Danilo Bautista Hernández, presenter of a news programme on Radio California in Nueva Cajamarca, San Martín, north-eastern Peru by two men who aimed a gun at him before fleeing when they were disturbed.

The incident may be linked to the journalist’s repeated criticism on his programme, El Informativo de Mediodía, of the lobbying organisation, the Front for the Defence of the interests of Nueva Cajamarca (FEDINC), which twice this year made death threats against him.

Bautista Hernández was swimming in the Yuracyacu River near Nueva Cajamarca on 23 November when two men pointed a gun at him. Several people came running in response to screams for help from his wife and niece and the two men took flight.

“While remaining cautious, it does seem likely that this murder attempt was linked to Bautista Hernández’s criticism on Radio California of this lobbying organisation, several members of which had already threatened him”, the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

One member of the organisation, Óscar Coronel Vega, threatened him in a phone call on 15 November, warning him that he would soon be murdered by hired killers. The journalist narrowly avoided getting killed at a meeting of FEDINC in May this year.

Despite his fears, Danilo Bautista Hernández told Reporters Without Borders that he was determined to continue to expose abuses by members of the organisation. “They want to shut me up, but they won’t succeed because I expose the facts on my programme. I do not express myself against the defence front”, he said.

“”We salute the courage of this journalist who is determined to continue informing his listeners,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The authorities meanwhile must protect his safety and act against his assailants and those who may have instigated this murder attempt.”

Bautista Hernández reported the incident to the police, who, he said, recorded it as an “armed robbery attempt and not as a murder attempt”

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