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Forcibly closed Peruvian press accuses government of “political revenge”

Friday, January 22nd 2010 - 04:48 UTC
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Last June hundreds of security forces were deployed in the Peruvian jungle to combat indigenous protestors Last June hundreds of security forces were deployed in the Peruvian jungle to combat indigenous protestors

Reporters Without Borders, RSF, condemned on Thursday as an act of political revenge from the Peruvian government the cancellation of a television station license, seven months after the same action was taken against radio La Voz de Bagua Grande, also in the Amazonas region

Televisión Oriente based in Yurimaguas based in the north-east of Peru, lost its broadcast license on 15 January on orders from the Transport and Communications Ministry (MTC). Like La Voz de Bagua, Televisión Oriente, fulfilled all the legal conditions for its license, granted in 2006. And in both cases the authorities claimed that they had not met deadlines for operational checks.

This reason is obviously not valid argues RSF. The last inspection of the aerials was done in 2007, and another was due between now and May, stressed Roberto Pereira, quoted by the Institute for Press and Society.

The Peruvian administration is obviously not observing its own deadlines and this closure responds to political revenge on the part of the authorities, the organization said.

Interior minister, Mercedes Cabanillas, publicly threatened to close La Voz de Bagua and Radio Oriente, for their alleged “support” for violence against security forces after demonstrations last June by the indigenous population protesting mining rights granted to multinationals on ancestral lands.

The Peruvian government has since then been looking for culprits among the media.

In another such case, Alejandro Carrascal Carrasco, editor of the weekly Nor Oriente in Bagua, was sentenced on 12 January to one year in prison for “defamation“.

According to RSF Mr. Carrascal Carrasco is paying the consequences of having reported in favor of the protesting indigenous population.

During the clashes between indigenous protestors and security forces several police members were killed, some of them speared, but also an unaccounted number of locals died or remain disappeared.

The incidents were so serious that they forced the administration of President Alan Garcái to back-step on mining and forestry legislation, and to reshuffle the cabinet with the prime minister loosing his job.

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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