Radio host accuses government of censorship for canning show

New York, January 4, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by an allegation of government censorship by a prominent Argentine journalist whose radio show was abruptly taken off air. José “Pepe” Eliaschev told CPJ that government- controlled Radio Nacional informed him on December 30 that his contract would not be renewed on January 1 and that his show “Esto Que Pasa” was canceled.

“The station’s director Mona Moncalvillo said that she received orders from people above her, meaning the government,” Eliaschev said.

Eliaschev, who also writes a column for the weekly Perfil and has a cable television program, has criticized President Néstor Kirchner’s policies.

“A well-known journalist has made a very serious allegation of censorship,” said CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper. “The Argentine authorities must provide a full and prompt explanation.”

Radio Nacional news director Néstor Piccone said on Tuesday that the decision to end Eliaschev’s program had nothing to do with censorship, the daily La Nación reported. “Radio Nacional will continue to be a diverse radio station,” Piccone told La Nación.

Eliaschev’s show has been on the air 1985, and broadcast by state-owned Radio Nacional since 2000. Local press group Foro de Periodismo Argentino (FOPEA) said that the decision was “arbitrary and unfounded.” Several local journalists have also voiced concern about this case and the government’s increasing intolerance of criticism in the media.