Bogotá, September 14, 2022 – Peruvian authorities must thoroughly investigate an explosive attack on the Cadena Sur TV station, bring those responsible to justice, and guarantee the safety of the station’s journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Wednesday.
At around 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 13, two men on a motorcycle approached the entrance of the independent Cadena Sur television station offices in the southern city of Ica and threw an explosive, which appeared to be a stick of dynamite, at the entrance that destroyed the door to the building, according to news reports that included security footage, and the station’s owner and news director, Gastón Medina.
Medina, who lives in the building that houses the station, told CPJ via messaging app that he was unhurt and had filed a police report.
A string of incidents targeting Medina and the office of Cadena Sur began with a death threat left for Medina at the outlet’s door on February 23, 2022, as CPJ documented. On July 18, animal excrement was smeared on the station’s door, and on July 27, the door was sprayed with red paint, Medina said. On September 2, Medina said a dog carcass with a slit throat was left at the station’s entrance.
“Peruvian authorities must urgently investigate the detonation of an explosive at the offices of the Cadena Sur TV station and ensure that its staff can do their jobs safely,” said Natalie Southwick, CPJ’s Latin America and Caribbean program coordinator, in New York. “This attack is the latest in a series of alarming incidents that appear to be retribution for Cadena Sur’s political coverage. Authorities must find the perpetrators and hold them to account before these threats escalate any further.”
Medina said he believes Tuesday’s attack and the previous incidents were in retaliation for his station’s reporting on alleged corruption by Javier Gallegos, the governor of the surrounding Ica department. According to news reports, Gallegos is under investigation by the Attorney General’s office for alleged ties to organized crime.
A statement published by Gallegos’ office denied any involvement in Tuesday’s attack on Cadena Sur. It said that “the governor, his advisors and his employees are very respectful of the media and condemn any acts that impact press freedom.”
Neither Gallegos nor the Ica police responded to CPJ’s text messages seeking comment.