Officials in Formosa Province Suspected in Radio Station Fire
|Publisher||Reporters Without Borders|
|Publication Date||8 April 2013|
|Cite as||Reporters Without Borders, Officials in Formosa Province Suspected in Radio Station Fire, 8 April 2013, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/517799338.html [accessed 23 January 2018]|
Reporters Without Borders hopes that the police will quickly establish who was responsible for the fire that caused major damage to Radio Génesis in Ingeniero Suárez, in the northern province Formosa, on 5 April.
The fire destroyed the radio station's equipment within 20 minutes at around dawn and, as a result, it is no longer able to broadcast.
An accident seems to be ruled out as a large quantity of fuel was found at Radio Génesis and its door had been forced, owner Aníbal Palma said. The day before the fire, Ingeniero Suárez mayor Cristino Vidal Mendoza threatened one of the station's employees and told him the station had "little time" left.
Palma suspects the municipal and provincial authorities of being responsible for the fire because he is a well-known critic of the mayor and had accused him of corruption. He also covered the problems of other nearby communities in his morning news programme, and had been the target of repeated intimidation attempts.
In August 2012, he was physically attacked and threatened by local news media owner Gregorio Monzón and two of Monzón's employees, according to the Argentine Journalism Forum (FOPEA).
Palma said he did not have any funds with which to repair and relaunch the radio station.
Reporters Without Borders calls on the Argentine authorities to protect journalists and news media that cover corruption, because they are often the targets of intimidation and harassment of various kinds.
Recent cases include that of Luis Leiva, who was fired on 20 March from Medios del Aire, a radio station based in the southern province of Rio Negro, after covering irregularities in the use of local government funds.
In the northern province of Chaco, local leaders threatened journalist Luis Gasulla on the air of Radio FM Resistencia on 22 March as he was criticizing cases of corruption within humanitarian organizations.