Attacks on newspaper distributors threaten local press in Argentina

The Argentine Journalism Forum (FOPEA in Spanish) denounced the "serious harassment" facing the media in a local community, the organization reported in a statement on its website on Tuesday, Oct. 16. According to FOPEA, this is the third time dispatchers for the newspaper El Debate have been attacked in Zárate, Buenos Aires, while delivering the publication.

El Debate Director Daniel Voguel attributed the attacks to the community's mayor, Osvaldo Cáffaro, reported the website Infocielo. The attacks began at the beginning of October when the newspaper published a condemnation from a group of opposition council members accusing the mayor of embezzlement, failure to meet his obligations and illicit associations, reported the newspaper.

The first attack took place on Oct. 7, when a truck intercepted a distributor on his way to deliver copies of the newspaper and stole every one, reported the website LaNoticia1. Later, after a second attack consisting of threats against another distributor and the editor, delivery workers were guarded for a week but the costs proved prohibitive, added the website.

Other media joined El Debate in condemning the attacks. FOPEA demanded authorities in Zárate "immediately end this harassment against freedom of the local press and provide for the security of local press workers," the group said in a statement.

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.

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