Peruvian radio host’s wife killed in attack on station

Bogotá, Colombia, October 20, 2014–Peruvian authorities must conduct an efficient and thorough investigation into Friday’s attack on a radio station in which assailants killed the wife of a journalist, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

On the pretext of purchasing ads, a man entered Radio Rumba, in the town of Pichanaki in central Junín department, at about 5:30 am on Friday. He was followed into the station by a second man who was armed with a pistol, according to news reports.

When the men entered, Gerson Fabián Cuba was hosting his morning radio program, according to reports. The gunman began insulting and beating him with their gun. When the journalist’s son protested, Fabián Cuba’s wife, Gloria Limas Calle, tried to drive the men away with a broomstick. The assailants shot Limas Calle in the chest and fled the premises. Limas Calle died before reaching a Pichanaki hospital, according to news reports.

Limas Calle wrote ad copy for Fabián Cuba and often cleaned the radio station’s studio.

“We condemn the attack on Gerson Fabían Cuba that killed his wife, and we call on Peruvian authorities to work quickly to ensure that local journalists and their families and associates do not have to fear violent reprisal for their reporting,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas, from New York. “Only finding those responsible and bringing them to justice will prevent further attacks on, and harassment of, the local media.”

Fabián Cuba told the Institute for Press and Society, a Lima-based press freedom group, that he did not know what had motivated the attack. But he said that in recent programs he had criticized local politicians for corruption and had spoken critically about environmental activists who blocked roads in protest of a natural gas exploration project by the Argentine energy firm Pluspetrol.

Another local journalist was harassed and beaten earlier this month. Eduardo Aucalla Muje, a reporter for Radio Frecuencia 97 in Pichanaki, was hit with sticks and soda bottles by environmental activists on October 14 while covering the protests against the gas exploration project, according to news reports.

Journalists and news outlets reporting on corruption and organized crime in Peru are frequently targeted with violence, according to CPJ research.