September 17, 2014 - Updated on January 20, 2016

Well-known TV host’s car torched outside Buenos Aires home

Reporters Without Borders condemns an arson attack on well-known TV journalist Gustavo Sylvestre’s car outside his family home in Buenos Aires on 11 September, which Sylvestre regards as an act of intimidation in response to some of his recent reporting. Security camera footage showed a man approach the car, enter it, spend a few minutes inside, and then leave. The car caught fire a few minutes later. Although the arsonist’s face was not masked, the police have not as yet been able to identify or locate him. The Buenos Aires police have been guarding Sylvestre’s home ever since the attack. Sylvestre said it was the first time anything like this had happened to him in his entire career as a journalist, and that he was particularly concerned for his family. What could have been regarded as just a vehicle break-in was, in his view, a professionally executed act of intimidation. Sylvestre added that in “Minuto Uno” (First Minute), the programme he presents on the C5N television channel, he often tackles sensitive subjects such as drug trafficking and public security matters. “We condemn this arson attack on Sylvestre and urge the authorities to conduct a meticulous investigation,” said Camille Soulier, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Americas desk. “Acts of intimidation against journalists covering stories related to public security are very common throughout the hemisphere. We salute the speed with which the police provided protection for Sylvestre and his family.” A leading political journalist and commentator, Sylvestre has been awarded both Argentinian and international prizes for his reporting. As well as “Minuto Uno,” he hosts “Mañana Sylvestre” on Radio del Plata. Argentina is ranked 55th out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.