Unknown gunman threatens Argentine journalist

New York, May 30, 2012–Authorities in Argentina must immediately investigate death threats made against a local radio journalist and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. 

Gustavo Tinetti, the host for “Despertate” on Cadena Nueve radio station and a reporter for the station’s website, was threatened by an unidentified gunman who walked into the station’s office in the city of 9 de Julio, in Buenos Aires province, on Tuesday, according to news reports. The man threatened the journalist’s daughters and threatened him with death, and warned him against publishing “the rest of the information that we know you have,” the journalist said, according to Cadena Nueve. The man told Tinetti not to file a complaint and then fled in a car that was waiting outside the station, the journalist said.

Tinetti told local journalists that he thought the threats were related to his coverage on Cadena Nueve’s website of an alleged tax evasion investigation into Walter Battistella, a local mayor. The journalist told the Argentine press group Foro de Periodismo Argentino (FOPEA) that he had more information regarding the case that he planned to publish in coming days.

Battistella told local newspaper Tiempo that the allegations were false, FOPEA reported.

“We condemn this blatant act of intimidation against journalist Gustavo Tinetti,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas. “Argentine authorities must fully investigate these threats and ensure that provincial journalists can report critically without fear of reprisal.”

Buenos Aires province had the greatest number of press freedom violations in the country in 2011, according to CPJ research.