Category: Press Releases, The Americas, Peru
By: Scott Griffen, Press Freedom Adviser for Latin America and the Caribbean

Peruvian photojournalist shot dead

IPI urgues authorities not to discount journalism as possible motivation

Prisoners walk as police guards are seen at Lurigancho prison, South America's biggest jail with more than 9,000 inmates, in Lima, July 19, 2012. REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

By: Scott Griffen, Press Freedom Adviser for Latin America and the Caribbean

VIENNA, Feb 25, 2013 – A respected Peruvian photojournalist was gunned down on Saturday afternoon as he left at his home in Lima’s Pueblo Libre district.

Peruvian media reported that Luis Choy, 34, a photographer who covered a wide variety of subjects for the newspaper El Comercio, was intercepted at approximately 3:40 pm by at least one gunman and shot at least three times, in the throat and the head. The assailant fled the scene in a waiting car.

Despite growing rates of violence in Lima, authorities have apparently discounted robbery as a motive, noting that the gunman did not take any of Choy’s possessions.

El Comercio remembered Choy as “a friend and companion [who was] both father and mother to his 10-year-old daughter. He will forever leave a great emptiness in the heart of all those who met him. Rest in peace, dear friend.”

Peruvian President Ollanta Humala Tasso expressed his condolences to Choy’s family and highlighted the government’s investment in security in Lima, saying, “We have to work together; no one can feel abandoned in the fight for citizen safety.

He added: “We have demanded results from the police; obviously there are aspects we cannot reveal, but we are pressuring to have this killing resolved.”

International Press Institute (IPI) Deputy Director Anthony Mills said: “IPI expresses its deepest condolences to the family and colleagues of Luis Choy. We urge the Peruvian authorities to investigate this crime thoroughly and transparently, and without discounting the possibility that Choy was killed for his journalistic work."

While Peru has not witnessed the the same levels of media-related violence as neighbouring Colombia and Brazil, three Peruvian journalists were killed for reasons related to their work in 2011, according to IPI’s Death Watch.

The Press and Society Institute (Ipys) for Peru recorded a total of 95 instances of aggression against the press, with public officials being the leading alleged offenders. The NGO identified the country’s north, and specifically the provinces of Cajamarca and Lambayeque, as the most dangerous for the press.                                  

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