Security forces in Misiones, Argentina, display seized packets of Marijuana, August 25, 2009. (Reuters/Handout)
Security forces in Misiones, Argentina, display seized packets of Marijuana, August 25, 2009. (Reuters/Handout)

Radio journalist shot four times in northern Argentina

Unidentified gunman shot a local radio host in the Argentine province of Misiones, on July 26, 2017, according to press reports and Argentine journalists.

Two men on a motorcycle approached Jesús Báez do Nacimento, who owns and operates the radio station FM Carretera 101, and his wife outside their home in the town of San Antonio, near the border with Brazil and a common route for smugglers, according to reports.

One of the men got off the motorcycle and approached Báez, asking for him by his nickname, “El Negro,” then shot him multiple times, according to reports. Three bullets hit Báez in the abdomen, a fourth fractured his left arm, and a fifth bullet hit a nearby vehicle. The attackers then fled on their motorcycle, the reports said.

Báez was taken to a hospital in the town of Eldorado, near the western border of Misiones, where he was in stable condition.

Andres D’Alessandro, the executive director of the Association of Argentine Press Companies (ADEPA), a professional association, told CPJ that Báez had repeatedly denounced drug trafficking and other illicit activities in the region, as well as alleged corruption among police and local government officials. In a statement, he called the attack “one of the most serious attacks against freedom of expression and a journalist’s life in the last 15 years.”

Claudio Altamirano, who also works at FM Carretera 101, told Radio Libertad that Báez had received threats for nearly 20 years as a result of his reporting and had previously been attacked seven times. In 2015, unidentified assailants threw a firebomb at his house, according to reports.

A spokesperson for Misiones police told reporters that authorities believed the attackers were two Brazilians who crossed back over the border shortly after the shooting.

On August 2, Báez, along with representatives from ADEPA, press freedom organization FOPEA and other local journalists met with Misiones Interior Minister Marcelo Pérez about the case, according to reports. D’Alessandro told CPJ the attendees expressed their concerns about threats against journalists in Argentina’s border regions and requested that federal, rather than provincial, police conduct a full investigation into the attack.