Newspaper presses burned, reporter beaten as attacks on media escalate in Argentina

The first days of November have seen a wave of attacks against journalists and the media in Argentina. The newspaper La Verdad in the city of Junín, in the province of Buenos Aires, claimed that unknown assailants entered the paper's printing facility and burned part of the presses early in the morning of Nov. 7, according to El Día.

The attack could have been a reprisal for a piece the paper published about drug sales in Junín, according to Notícias Argentinas.

"We're anxiously watching the rise, in the last weeks, of attacks on the media and independent journalists," said national deputy and president of the freedom of expression committee, Silvana Giudici.

In the province of Misiones, in the triple frontier region with Brazil and Paraguay, another reporter was beaten on Nov. 7 when he showed up to his child's soccer practice, reported La Nación. The reporter, Alejandro Barrionuevo, was a radio host for 98.1 FM Show and attributed the attack to his work as a journalist. "I don't have a clue about who ordered this," he said. Primera Edición, however, published an article stating that a mayor had threatened the journalist and his colleague Alfredo Pascual Abrazián.

Meanwhile, in Argentina's second largest city, Córdoba, protesting health workers attacked four journalists covering the demonstration, according to the Forum for Argentine Journalism (FOPEA in Spanish). Journalists Luis Kempa of the newspaper La Voz del Interior, Nicolás Gerchunoff and his cameraman Mario Ruarte of Canal 10, as well as Leonardo Guevara of Radio Mitre all suffered verbal and physical assaults from protesters.

Kempa was punched and hurt his ankle. Canal 10's camera was damaged and protesters tried to grab Guevara's cellphone as he was broadcasting live to Radio Mitre.