Peruvian journalist dies after attack by gunman

New York, September 8, 2011–Peruvian television journalist Pedro Alfonso Flores Silva died today from gunshot wounds sustained in an attack by an unidentified assailant late Tuesday, local press said.

“Peruvian authorities must thoroughly investigate the brutal killing of Pedro Alfonso Flores Silva,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas. “Investigators must determine if he was killed because of his work and bring those responsible to justice.”

Flores Silva, 36, was riding home on his motorcycle on the Panamericana Norte Highway in the northwestern province of Casma when he was intercepted by a taxi, press reports said. A hooded assailant got out from the back of the vehicle and shot him once in the abdomen, press reports said. Flores Silva was taken to a local hospital where he died today.

Flores Silva ran and hosted the Casma-based Channel 6 news program “Visión Agraria.” The journalist’s wife, Mercedes Cueva Abanto, told reporters that her husband had received anonymous death threats via text message for several months prior to his murder. She said she believed the threats stemmed from accusations of corruption her husband had made in his programs against Marco Rivero Huertas, mayor of the Comandante Noel district. Rivero Huertas told reporters that he had nothing to do with the crime, and that he was in “solidarity with the victim and his family.”

Another journalist was killed in northern Peru this year. In May, critical radio host Julio Castillo Narváez was gunned down while having lunch in the city of Virú. CPJ is investigating the case to determine whether the motive was work-related. CPJ research shows that 12 journalists including Flores Silva have been killed in Peru since 1992, at least six in direct reprisal for their work.