Reporter gunned down in northern Peru

The reporter had openly criticised regional government officials in northwestern Peru.

Updated: May 05, 2011, 09:44 AM IST

Lima: A reporter who openly criticised regional government officials in northwestern Peru has been killed in a hail of gunfire, a Latin American press watchdog group has said.

Julio Castillo Narvaez, who headed the newscast at Radio Ollantay in the northern city of Viru, was a fierce critic of regional authorities, the Lima-based Press and Society Institute (IPYS) said.

On Tuesday a group of gunmen accosted Castillo, 41, as he was leaving a Viru restaurant after lunch and shot him six times, then fled the scene.

Police say the hitmen were likely hired guns.

The IPYS and another group, the National Association of Journalists (ANP), are demanding an investigation.

Police said they retrieved a death threat message from Castillo`s cell phone, and also revealed that Castillo had asked for police protection.

In their 2010 report on press freedom in Peru, the ANP reported 87 cases of physical or verbal aggression against reporters, as well as 46 cases of "threats or harassment" and 26 cases of "legal pressure."

Bureau Report