Since the beginning of the protests on 7 December, the ANP has monitored the working conditions of journalists covering the protests throughout the country, and has recorded 72 attacks on the media so far and an upsurge in police and military repression against duly identified media workers. The most high-profile case is that of EFE photojournalist Aldair Mejía, who was attacked and threatened by the police for recording the arrest of a citizen. Then, he was shot in the leg by security forces. Agents, who harassed Mejía for doing his job, told him: "if you do that again, I'll blow your head off and you'll be dead".
Before holding a press conference with organisations in defence of freedom of expression and human rights, ANP president and IFJ vice-president Zuliana Lainez referred to the events as “barbaric”. Lainez stated: "We are deeply concerned about police repression, especially against those whose job it is to inform. These are not attacks by demonstrators, nor by those who infiltrate the protests to carry out violent assaults. Since January 4, when the demonstrations resumed until today, the biggest aggressors against journalists have been police and military personnel".
As for the attacks on media workers, the ANP president stated: "Despite the fact that our colleagues are duly identified..they have tried to break their credentials and have shot them directly, as in the case of EFE photojournalist Aldair Mejía, who received a bullet in the leg". In this particular case, she added: "The police are trying to install a new narrative saying that it was not a projectile but a stone. Fortunately, we have the evidence of the first X-ray report".
"The State says nothing and it has done nothing against these attacks. We are not surprised as it has been indolent with 17 Peruvians murdered in Juliaca, in the south of the country. Therefore, it is going to stay silent about the attacks on journalists," continued the IFJ vice-president. "Beyond these attacks, what is most worrying is that these areas are becoming zones of tremendous opacity. Since there are no foreign journalists, who is going to record the whole issue of police repression? There will be no one to take uncomfortable photographs or film. This is outrageous. Our colleagues have had to leave Juliaca, and the local media are having enormous difficulties to work, as the police want journalists only to cover the side of the demonstrators, who are the ones committing the acts of vandalism according to the security forces’ narrative. The police now want to tell us how to do our job," concluded Zuliana Lainez on the events that took place on 9 January.
"We want to express our deep indignation for what is happening: for the deaths, and for the enormous obstacles that our colleagues are facing to carry out their work to inform. We demand the perpetrators be held accountable: those police agents who have threatened to kill our colleagues, as in the case of Aldair, and those who have fired the projectile. The police must launch disciplinary processes and assume political responsibilities, because the Minister of the Interior, the Minister of Defense, the President of the Council of Ministers and Mrs. Dina Boularte herself have political responsibility for what is happening,"demanded the ANP president, who signed a manifesto, together with provincial leaders of the organisation.
The IFJ joins its affiliate the ANP in its demands, and condemns the attacks suffered by media workers in Peru, who have been assaulted by security forces in the course of their work, which constitutes a violation of freedom of expression and the citizens’ right to know. In times of crisis, the role of journalists is indispensable for decision making in democratic societies. Therefore their work must be protected and their lives must be safeguarded. If this does not happen, the consequences for democracy may be permanent.