Reporters Without Borders urges those investigating newspaper photographer Luis Choy Yin Sandoval’s murder to examine a possible link to his work. Employed by El Comercio, Choy, 40, was gunned down outside his Lima home on 23 February amid a surge in violence against media personnel in Peru.
Choy was about to drive out of his garage when another vehicle blocked his way. Despite some variation in witness accounts, it has been established that a man got out of the other vehicle, exchanged a few words with Choy and then shot him in the head and abdomen. Neither Choy’s car nor anything else was taken.
“As its seems robbery can be ruled out as a motive, we need to know if Choy was the victim of a reprisal connected with his work. Freedom of information in Peru continues to be beset by physical attacks, shootings and judicial harassment, while the authorities still take no effective measures to protect journalists and news media.”
While the motive in the Choy case has yet to be established, the reasons for physical attacks on journalists are often known, especially in the provinces. But, as they are often linked to local political conflicts, they rarely lead to arrests.
For example, three individuals shot Radio Max journalist Juan Carlos Yaya Salcedo in the leg in Cañete, on the outskirts of Lima, on 5 February. According to the Press and Society Institute (IPYS), Yaya had been criticizing Nuevo Imperial municipal government irregularities on the air.
Radio Paraiso 92.1 FM, a local station in Olmos, in the northwestern region of Lambayeque, was forced off the air when it was the target of an arson attack for the second time this year on 8 February. Its manager, José Luis Cobeñas Ipanaqué, had also criticized the municipal government’s management.
Reporters Without Borders will try to help Radio Paraiso to rebuild and get back on the air.
Peru is ranked 105th out of 179 countries in the latest Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.