Reporters Without Borders (RSF in Spanish) reported with "concern and regret" an uptick in attacks on journalists in Argentina and the challenges facing freedom of expression, especially in the provinces, according to a report the group published on Nov. 30.
The RSF report noted a change in the country's security and freedom of expression in 2012, "thanks to the failure of the public authorities to take action against all-too-frequent assaults carried out by local elected officials." RSF called for an end to the attacks and the media polarization that make journalists targets for aggressions over their outlets' editorial line.
One of the most recent cases was a court-ordered raid on Radio Horizonte at the request of the mayor of the city of Bariloche, Omar Goye, on Nov. 23, according to the website ADN. Early in the morning, a court official and the mayor's lawyer arrived at Marcelo Parra's broadcaster without warning and began to search computers for statements that could besmirch Goye's "good name and honor," reported the website.
The event was denounced by the Argentine Journalism Forum (FOPEA in Spanish), which called it a clear attack on freedom of expression since the broadcaster was forced to interrupt its programming for two hours. According to FOPEA, Goye has carried out similar raids in the region. Unabashed, the mayor defended his actions, saying, "one's rights end when others' begin and many people get confused and believe that just because they're in a democracy they can say whatever they want," reported th website Rionegro.
This, however, is just one of the cases RSF highlighted in its report. Others inlcuded the case of Daniel Polaczinkski, who was forced to close his radio station after receiving threats, allegedly, from the president of the city council. The report also tells the stories of Mario Fedorischak, who was attacked by local police while reporting on the arrival of prisoners to a police station, and Néstor Dib, who was beaten while covering preosts against the government of Argentine President Cristina Fernández.
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.