Interview attempt lands Argentine journalist behind bars

journalist was placed in solitary confinement for five hours after trying to interview an official in the city of Saavedra, Buenos Aires, reported the Argentine Journalism Forum (FOPEA in Spanish).

On Sept. 22, the journalist Pablo Peralta, FM Frecuencia Zero host and administrator for the website Ciudad Noticias, tried to interview a municipal delegate from a neighboring community of Dufaur, also in Buenos Aires, Gustavo Minich.

When the journalist approached, the official motioned to nearby police who handcuffed Peralta and forced him into a police car where he was driven to the Saavedra police station, according to a statement the journalist gave to the publication Reflejos. The official claimed that he called for the police after he asked the reporter to stay away because he thought Peralta was intoxicated, the publication reported.

When the reporter was released he returned to Dufaur to retrieve his car but found that the radio had been stolen along with his press credentials. Peralta believed the events were motivated by critical comments he made on his show about the mayor of Saavedra and the official he tried to interview, added FOPEA.

FOPEA also denounced the demonstration against reporter Adrián Valenzuela outside the offices of Radio Vos in the northern city of Salta on Sept. 26.

A few days before, Valenzuela interviewed community members that accused official Diego Barreto of alleged irregularities in the sale and receipt of public lands, reported the website El Intransigente.

According to FOPEA, supporters of the official demonstrated outside the radio station, insulting Valenzuela and threatening to slit his throat. Similarly, the reporter said he received text messages threatening that they should close the station. On Monday, Oct. 1, the broadcaster's website was hacked, reported FOPEA.

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.