Bogotá, March 2, 2022 – Peruvian authorities must thoroughly investigate a death threat against TV journalist Gastón Medina, bring those responsible to justice, and guarantee his safety, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Wednesday.
On February 23, Medina, the owner and news director of the independent Cadena Sur television station in the southern city of Ica, arrived at the station and found on the doorstep a plastic bag full of trash and excrement and a floral arrangement with an envelope containing a .38-caliber bullet, according to news reports and a CPJ interview via messaging app with the journalist. Medina told CPJ that inside the envelope was a hand-written note that said: “Gastón Medina, you will die.”
The death threat came just days after the morning news program Medina hosts on Cadena Sur reported on allegations of cost overruns in the purchase of tomography equipment for a state-run hospital in Ica, he told CPJ. “I think the death threat is related to our reporting,” Medina said.
“Peruvian authorities should urgently investigate the death threat against journalist Gastón Medina, hold the perpetrators to account, and ensure he and his outlet are able to report safely,” said Natalie Southwick, CPJ’s Latin America and the Caribbean program coordinator, in New York. “The threatening note and materials were left at Medina’s outlet, suggesting that he was targeted for his reporting, and authorities must consider this in their investigation.”
Medina reported the death threat on February 23 to the Ica police, who told him they would investigate. CPJ’s phone calls to the Ica police department went unanswered.
In October 2020, Cadena Sur was forced off the air for one week after the station and two Ica radio stations were raided by the police following a complaint by Mónica Guillén, a then-congressional candidate and the wife of the Ica governor, about coverage of her campaign, as CPJ documented at the time. Police confiscated cell phones, computers, and other equipment from Cadena Sur, which were returned after six months, Medina told CPJ.