Escalating violence in the Americas to be focus at its General Assembly in Lima in October
Miami (September 16, 2011)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today expressed anger at the murder of journalist José Oquendo Reyes, the third such crime in Peru this year and the 27th in the Americas. It announced that violence against journalists, action to safeguard them and putting an end to impunity will be the main issues to be discussed at its General Assembly to be held in Lima in October.
Oquendo Reyes, director and host of the program “Sin Fronteras” (Without Borders) broadcast by BTV Canal 45 television in Chincha province, was killed on Wednesday (September 14). He was attacked by unidentified assailants riding a motorcycle who shot him five times near his home in the town of Pueblo Nuevo on the south-central coast of Peru.
IAPA President Gonzalo Marroquín said he was dismayed, calling the murders of journalists in the Americas this year “a regrettable spiral of violence.” Marroquín, president of the Guatemala City, Guatemala, newspaper Siglo 21, added that “the climate of violence, along with the impunity surrounding most of such crimes, merits our close attention and we call on the governments of the region to take action to prevent this scourge spreading further.”
According to his widow Oquendo Reyes, who also worked as a building site foreman, had not received any threats. In his on-air program he had exposed alleged corruption in the office of the mayor of Chincha, Lucio Juárez Ochoa.
For his part, the chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Robert Rivard, editor of the San Antonio Express-News, Texas, declared, “The Peruvian authorities should investigate as a matter of urgency and determine who was responsible for this new murder and the others committed this year in Peru” – a reference to the murders of Pedro Alonso Flores Silva and Julio Castillo Narváez on September 8, and May 3, respectively.
The IAPA officers said that during its half-yearly review of the state of press freedom in the Western Hemisphere in the Peruvian capital, Lima, October 14-18 the organization would be looking in-depth at unpunished crimes against journalists, which so far this year have resulted in the deaths of 27 news men and women and press workers in Brazil, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Paraguay, Dominican Republic and Venezuela.
The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 print publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida. The IAPA Impunity Project is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and has the mission of combating violence against journalists and lessening the impunity surrounding the majority of such crimes. For more information please go to http://www.sipiapa.org; http://www.impunidad.com.