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Journalists and television director resign

(IPYS/IFEX) - On the evening of 6 October 2004, Carlos Espá and Rosana Cueva, host and director, respectively, of América Televisión's "Cuarto Poder" political affairs programme, announced during a press conference that they had resigned from their positions. Their decision was made after President Alejandro Toledo allegedly demanded a public apology for a report aired on the 3 October edition of the programme.

During the press conference, both journalists said that the station's director, Julio Aliaga, informed them that Toledo had demanded an apology from the "Cuarto Poder" team for broadcasting a video that had put him in a compromising position. Moreover, the journalists were told that the station's management had agreed to the president's request.

Aliaga met with Toledo to discuss the matter and offer the president an opportunity to appear on the programme, but the president kept insisting on a public apology. Given the station's management's support for Toledo's request, Aliaga decided to submit his resignation.

José Antonio Miró Quesada, president of the board of directors of Plural TV Group (Grupo Plural TV), the company that administers América Televisión, denied that anyone from the government had contacted him or pressured him to ensure that Toledo's request was carried out. According to Miró Quesada, Aliaga met with the station's Editorial Consultative Council (Consejo Consultivo Editorial, CCE) on 5 October, but he did not know what the meeting had been about. Miró Quesada added that "asking for an apology or not is no longer relevant to the case since the 'Cuarto Poder' team, or at least Carlos Espá and Rosana Cueva, have resigned and there is not much more to say about the matter."

The CCE denied having suggested to Aliaga that "Cuarto Poder" apologise to the president, although they did say they disagreed with the nature of the report aired on the programme as they thought it was "incomplete and lacking in substance." They also recommended that the president be given an opportunity to appear on the programme's 10 October edition.

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