Peruvian journalist shot after reporting on corruption

Bogota, Colombia, February 6, 2013–A provincial radio journalist in southern Peru who has reported on local government corruption was shot in the leg while riding his motorcycle to work today, according to local press reports and the regional press group Instituto Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS).  

Juan Carlos Yaya Salcedo, 35, who hosts the hour-long “Sin Escape” (Without Escape) news program on Radio Max, told CPJ that he saw a blue car pull up behind him as he drove to the radio station in the town of Imperial, located about 85 miles (138 kilometers) southeast of Lima. Yaya heard two shots and was hit in the left thigh by a bullet that also damaged the gas tank of his motorcycle. The car sped away.  Police officers took the injured Yaya to a clinic in Imperial.

Speaking from the clinic, the reporter told CPJ that he expects to fully recover and return to work soon. Relatives have filed a criminal complaint with the police.

Yaya, who has worked as a journalist for 12 years, said he has never received any threats. He speculated that the attack could be related to his recent reporting on the shoddy construction of a communal building and a public swimming pool in the nearby town of Nuevo Imperial.

According to news reports, the police also suspect that the shooting was related to Yaya’s work as a journalist because the assailants did not try to steal anything. “My safety and the safety of my family are in danger,” Yaya said. “But I am going to keep working here as a journalist.”

“The attack on Juan Carlos Yaya Salcedo illustrates the dangers facing provincial journalists in Peru and underlines the need for authorities to act decisively in enforcing the law,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior Americas program coordinator, from New York. “Authorities must conduct a thorough investigation that identifies the perpetrators and brings them to justice.”

Provincial journalists reporting on government corruption have been repeatedly targeted in Peru, CPJ research shows. In 2011, one journalist was murdered in reprisal for his work, while two others were killed under unclear circumstances.