August 5, 2014 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Three radio presenters threatened and attacked in Santa Fe

Three journalists with Radio Sol, a station based in the northern city of Santa Fe, were the victims of a physical attack on 31 July after being threatened on the air by callers claiming to be policemen. “We are coming to get you at the entrance to the radio station because you shouldn’t mess with the municipal police,” one of the callers said during the programme presented by Jorge Cantero, Ignacio Herraez and Alejandro Paganelli on 31 August. The callers identified themselves as members of a unit called the Institutional Security Guard (GSI). Masked men pounced on the three journalists as they left the station later the same day. Cantero and Herraez managed to reenter the radio station while Paganelli found refuge inside his car. After trying to get into the car and damaging it, the assailants finally left. The police are investigating, but the Santa Fe city hall press office has disputed claims that GSI members were involved, saying that, for the time, these are just suspicions. According to the Forum for Argentinian Journalism (FOPEA), Radio Sol was assigned police protection during the day because its journalists, including director Juan Ignacio Citroni, have been getting threats for the past two months. The station is now getting police protection at night as well. “We urge the authorities to identify those responsible for this attack without delay,” said Camille Soulier, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Americas desk. “The security measures that have been put in place will only be effective in the long term if those responsible for these acts of intimidation are brought to account.” Argentina is a relatively safe country for journalists but officials do not hesitate to use force or censorship to suppress unwelcome information, especially in the provinces. Martin Sereno, who reports for the daily Primera Edición and Radio San Martín, was physically attacked by the mayor of a town in the northern province of Misiones while interviewing flood victims. Police detained a truck distributing the magazine La Tecla in Buenos Aires province on 19 June. The magazine’s lawyers said the police acted illegally, which its owners said the operation was designed to censor a report about alleged embezzlement involving the mayor of the city of José C. Paz. Argentina is ranked 55th out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.