CPJ concerned about death threats against radio journalist

New York, June 16, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by repeated attacks and death threats against a radio journalist in Argentina who criticized a local mayor for corruption.

Carlos Furman told CPJ that he began receiving death threats in February last year after he accused Domingo Daniel Rossi, mayor of Santa Helena town in northeastern Entre Ríos province, of embezzlement and corruption. The threats have increased in recent weeks, coinciding with Rossi’s trial. Rossi was convicted of corruption June 12 and given a three-year suspended prison sentence.

On June 9, a caller to Furman’s daily call-in show on radio station 2 de octubre, threatened on air to kill the journalist. Furman stayed in a hotel that night as a safety precaution. When he returned home the following day, he found three bullet holes in his front door. Local police said the shots had been fired from a .32 caliber gun. Police have provided Furman with a bodyguard and a bullet-proof vest, local media reported.

On May 31, nine days into Rossi’s trial, an unidentified man accosted Furman in the street, punched him in the face, and threatened to kill him if Rossi was found guilty. On June 12, the day of Rossi’s conviction, Furman received a death threat on his cellular phone. All previous threatening calls had been made to the radio station, Furman said. The callers warned Furman that he would die if he did not stop talking about Rossi.

Furman has reported every attack and threatening call to the police. Police told CPJ they were investigating the incidents.

“We are alarmed that such threats and attacks have been made repeatedly against Carlos Furman,” said CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper. “We urge the authorities to pursue their investigation with the utmost vigor and bring those responsible to justice swiftly.”