Peru Must Investigate Police Attacks Against Media During Protest
Freedom House is concerned by reports that journalists from local and national Peruvian media outlets were assaulted on June 14 by police while covering clashes between anti-mining protesters and police in the city of Cajamarca. Protesters were on their 15th day of a strike against the Conga mining project.
According to the journalists, police beat them with sticks and intentionally destroyed their camera equipment. Three female journalists covering the protests from North TV, Sun TV, and Channel 15 were blatantly attacked despite the fact they were wearing press vests. Edwin Lozano, a correspondent with Frequencia Latina, sustained several wounds after attacked, as well as extensive damage to his camera. The Interior Ministry issued a statement condemning the attacks against the press and told the public that those police officers involved in the attacks will be investigated.
While Freedom House welcomes the Peruvian government’s public condemnation of attacks, we are worried about increasing violence against the media and protesters, and urge the government to take action to prevent further violence.
Peru is ranked Free in Freedom of the World 2012, Freedom House’s annual global assessment of political rights and civil liberties, and Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2012. There have been an increasing number of attacks against journalists. In May, four individuals were killed following police violence at an anti-mining strike. According to el Instituto de Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS), the month of May saw the highest number of attacks so far in 2012.