February 8, 2007
Nicanor Duarte Frutos
President of the Republic of Paraguay
Palacio de López
Calle Paraguayo Independiente
Via facsimile: +595 21 414-0204
President Duarte Frutos:
The Committee to Protect Journalists would like to reiterate its concern about the fate of Enrique Galeano, Paraguayan host of a morning news and music program on the Horqueta-based Radio Azotey, who has been missing for over a year. We urge you to uphold your pledge to thoroughly investigate Galeano’s case.
Galeano, 51, lived with his wife and four children in Yby Yaú, a small town in the northern Concepción province. He disappeared while on his way home from work in the afternoon of February 4, 2006. He had been working at Radio Azotey, a local radio station owned by the Colorado Party, for a month before he disappeared. Julio Benegas, secretary-general of the Paraguayan Journalists’ Union, said Galeano had previously worked for another local radio station owned by the same political party. Galeano also edited Alo vecino, a local periodical. According to local press reports, he had been reporting on drug trafficking in Concepción and the possible involvement of local authorities.
Local prosecutor, Camila Rojas, told CPJ that she is focusing her investigation on kidnapping, but looking into other leads.
On March 23, 2006, you ordered a speedy and thorough inquiry into this case. We welcome that you have since restated your commitment to giving special attention to this case in order to determine Galeano’s whereabouts, but we are disappointed to see no progress.
CPJ’s recent research shows that Paraguay’s border with Brazil is the most hazardous place for local journalists to practice their profession. Journalists, like Galeano, who cover drug trafficking and corruption, are particularly vulnerable. During 2006, CPJ documented two other cases of journalists in this region who were threatened and attacked.
We are worried about our colleague’s safety, especially because there has been no progress in the year since he disappeared. We urge you to use the power of your position to reinvigorate the investigation and to press authorities to immediately locate Galeano. CPJ is monitoring the investigation and respectfully asks that you make available to us any information you might have regarding this case.
Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. We await your response.