Funeral wreaths sent as threat to Peruvian newspaper during midst of tense presidential election campaign

César Lévano, director of the Peruvian newspaper La Primera, and Arturo Belaúnde, president of the same newspaper, received funeral wreaths in the midst of a tense presidential election campaign, according to La República.

The funeral flower arrangements were sent via messenger to the newspaper offices with cards that read "RIP" beneath the names of the newspaper executives. Jaime Cruces, the newspaper's general editor, said in a statement that "to carry out these threats, the authors took refuge in anonymity," as the wreaths supposedly were sent by the Peruvian Press Council and the Press and Society Institute (IPYS), two organizations that defend press freedom, reported Perú.com.

IPYS condemned the "act of intimidation and threat against the press" and demanded an investigation.

La Primera has supported the Peruvian Nationalist Party candidate Ollanta Humala. The newspaper's editor said the funeral wreaths were an attempt to intimidate after the newspaper on Wednesday, May 11, published a story about an alleged strategy to prevent the victory of the Nationalist Party's alliance Perú Wins, La República said in another article.

The second round of Peru's presidential election is scheduled for June 5 between Humala and Keiko Fujimori. In the increasingly tense environment of the campaign, some journalists have been attacked by mobs while others have been fired or quit because of political pressure to favor a candidate.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.