HAVANA TIMES – Peruvian authorities must ensure that protesters who recently harassed journalist Ketty Vela are identified and held to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Wednesday.
On April 21 and 23, groups of about 50 people surrounded the journalist’s home in the northern town of Tocache, shouted insults at Vela, who hosts and produces news programs on the local independent broadcasters Radio San Juan and TV Cable, and threw rocks at her house, according to Vela, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app, and a report by the Lima-based press group IPYS.
The protesters called Vela a “sellout” over her interviews with supporters of a local water use project, as well as her on-air comments urging protesters against that project to refrain from violence after some had damaged storefronts in Tocache, she told CPJ.
The journalist told CPJ that no one was injured during either protest, and her house was not seriously damaged.
“Those who feel dissatisfied with a journalist’s reporting have no right to respond by laying siege to their home,” said CPJ Latin America and the Caribbean Program Coordinator Natalie Southwick, in New York. “Peruvian authorities must investigate the recent harassment of journalist Ketty Vela, identify those responsible, and send a clear message that violence against the press is unacceptable.”
Vela filmed the April 21 incident in a video that was uploaded in that IPYS report. She told CPJ that the demonstrators frightened her and her 11-year-old son.
Vela told CPJ that she filed a formal complaint with the police, but had not received any reply. CPJ left a voice message seeking comment from Roberto Concha, commander of the Tocache police department, but did not receive any response.