Argentina - Journalist who exposed corruption harrassed and threatened with death



    MONTREAL, Sept. 23 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders today voiced
deep concern about repeated death threats made since May 2008 against Juan
Carlos Parada, contributor to regional daily Rio Negro and radio FM Patagonia,
in Chos Malal, Neuquén province in the southwest. The threats appear linked to
his exposure of corruption involving local officials at the courts and the
municipal authority as well as police excesses. Parada also gave evidence
against the former head of LRA 52 Radio Nacional in a corruption case. He is
personally convinced of the connection between his exposures and the threats.
    Parada told the worldwide press freedom organisation on 3 May this year
that he had received three phone calls at his home warning him to drop all his
political investigations if he did not want to see "blood spilled". In July he
was ordered to stop his professional work and anonymous callers told him he
would "pay for it".
    A few days before, advertisers also came in for intimidation aimed at
getting them to stop advertising with the radio employing the journalist. His
car was also stolen and damaged. These threats culminated on 5 September with
a warning that he was going to be killed ten days later, on 15 September.
    The journalist is now under the protection of the provincial police and
he is convinced that his home is being watched. He said that a deputy who came
to visit him discreetly to offer support was subsequently threatened. He is
also concerned about the safety of his wife, a court administration employee,
and his daughter, who was referred to in an anonymous call.
    "Would Juan Carlos Parada have survived the murder threat against him if
he had not been placed under police protection?" Reporters Without Borders
asked. It is important to know this but that's not sufficient. Investigators
should examine the exposés which could be behind the terror campaign against
the journalist as much as other possible leads. "We urge the authorities to
swiftly identify and punish the person or persons behind these threats", it
added.
    Juan Carlos Parada is not the only journalist living with this kind of
threat. Reporters Without Borders is also calling for light to be shed on a
recent attack against the home of Edgardo Esteban, correspondent of Latin
American TV channel Telesur, in Buenos Aires on 11 September 2008 (see the
brief of 12 September 2008) as well as acts of sabotage against LRA 29 Radio
Nacional San Luis, in the province of the same name in western Argentina.




For further information:

For further information: Katherine Borlongan, Executive Director,
Reporters Without Borders Canada, (514) 521-4111, rsfcanada@rsf.org

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