Authorities in Peru must fully investigate a violent attack in which assailants reportedly tried to cut out a journalist’s tongue, leaving him hospitalised in critical condition, the International Press Institute (IPI) said today.
Lima-based media NGO the Institute for Press and Society (IPYS) reported that unidentified assailants attacked Marco Bonifacio Sánchez, host of the program “El Canillita” for TV and radio broadcaster Turbo Mix, on Saturday in Cajamarca, in northern Peru.
Bonifacio reportedly was on his way home when two women called him from a car. When he approached them, he was beaten and pulled into the vehicle, where the alleged attempt to cut out his tongue took place.
According to Bonifacio’s colleague, Ronald Tiper, the attack could be related to a video Bonifacio said he would release that would show acts of corruption in the municipality.
IPI Director of Advocacy and Communications Steven M. Ellis expressed shock over the attack and called on authorities to apprehend the assailants.
“We are deeply concerned by the brutality of this attack and by the reports that it may have been related to Mr. Bonifacio’s work,” Ellis said. “It sends a chilling message to journalists, one that will only be compounded if the attackers are not brought to justice. Our thoughts are with Mr. Bonifacio and we urge authorities to conduct a full, swift and transparent investigation into this crime.”
Saturday’s brutal attack was the second in Peru in three months. On Nov. 20, Hernán Choquepata Ordoñez, a presenter for local radio broadcaster La Ribereña in Camaná, was killed while presenting his program “Habla Pueblo”. Ordoñez’s attackers are said to have beaten the presenter and to have shot him in his head when he fought back.
Ordoñez was known for his open criticism of local politicians and police. Just before his murder, he had criticized two mayors of nearby municipalities on his program. Police arrested an 18-year-old suspect on Dec. 9, but the complete circumstances and any potential motive remain unclear. In late December, Peru’s interior minister offered a reward of up to 20,000 soles (approx. €5,700) for information leading to those behind the attack.