Miami (June 6, 2012)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today expressed outrage at attacks on Argentinean members of the press in recent days and asked the government of Argentina to investigate and prosecute those responsible to ensure the unfettered practice of journalism in this South American country.
Reporter Julio Mosle, photographer Florencia Downes, and driver Federico Molinari, all of them with the state-owned news agency Télam; news photographer Mariano Vega of the pro-government newspaper, Tiempo Argentino; and a reporter for the newspaper Crónica were chased and beaten yesterday as they covered a case of alleged medical negligence at the Claudio Zin Emergency Hospital in the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Malvinas Argentinas.
Some 20 hooded individuals prevented the Télam team from entering the hospital, threatening the team and shouting to the reporters to leave the area. Mosle was punched and kicked, and his personal equipment and mobile phone seized before the hospital’s security chief rescued him, local media reported. Mosle said that the police watched from nearby as the incident took place, but failed to intervene.
The Chair of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Gustavo Mohme, expressed repudiation at the incident and declared, “It is the government’s responsibility to act and investigate, and thus protect the right to freedom of the press and of expression.”
Mohme, editor of the Lima, Peru, newspaper La República, added, “We are aware of President Cristina de Kirchner’s concern at the IAPA’s condemnation of such cases. Our organization always urges that the right to the unfettered practice of journalism be guaranteed and protected, without bias regarding the philosophy or editorial stance that journalists and news media may have.”
“When the time comes to protect journalists and the media in cases of aggression, it is important that also the State does not discriminate,” Mohme added.
The IAPA also condemned another attack against journalists of the program “6,7,8,” broadcast by the state-owned television channel. The attack took place on June 1 during a protest demonstration in downtown Buenos Aires. Physically and verbally assaulted in that incident were reporter Lucas Martínez, cameraman Sergio Loguzzo, and producer Ezequiel Schneider.
The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 print publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida. For more information please go to http://www.sipiapa.org.