Argentine journalists cite increasing attacks by public officials

The Argentine Journalism Forum (FOPEA in Spanish) is calling for punishment for those responsible for a series of attacks on journalists by public officials in different provinces of Argentina during the last weeks of March and early April. The most recent attack was against TV reporter Gonzalo Rodríguez, from the program "Caiga Quien Caiga," who was assaulted by city officials in the coastal province of Pinamar while in the presence of Mayor Blas Altieri, reported the newspaper Clarín. The journalist questioned Altieri about an alleged diversion of funds for the construction of houses that were allotted to the mayor's daughters and relatives of city officials. Two of the city officials that were involved in the assault have already been fired, reported La Gaceta.

On March 21, another mayor, this time of the city of Comodoro Rivadavia, in the Argentine Patagonia, threatened to beat and sue radio journalist José Sayago, of the radio station Radiocracia, reported the newspaper El Chubut.

Also, in the city of Rosario de la Frontera, in the northern province of Salta, journalist Rubén Darío Heredia, of the station FM RED and of the newspaper La Verdad del NOA, said that his family received threatening calls from public officials who stopped sending him press releases and advertising in the reporter's news outlets, added the news site Infórmate Salta.

In two other areas of the border province of Misiones, in the northeastern part of the country, the local councilmen decided which journalists could and could not attend their sessions, violating agreements of access to public information guaranteed by the Argentine Constitution, said FOPEA.

In addition, the editor of the newspaper La Capital, of the city of Rosario, received anonymous threats for the publication of articles about drug trafficking.