Miami, February 25, 2020 — Argentine authorities should conduct a quick and transparent investigation into a death threat made against journalist Diego Moranzoni and his family, and hold those responsible to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
On February 13, Moranzoni received messages via Instagram threatening to kill him and his family if he continued reporting on the murder of Fernando Báez, a young man who was killed in Buenos Aires province on January 18, Moranzoni told CPJ in a phone interview.
Moranzoni hosts the daily news and opinion program “Crónica 2020” on the privately owned nationwide broadcaster Crónica HD, and has been covering Báez’s case extensively, he said.
One of the messages read, “Stop talking, I’m in jail and they are telling me that you’re going too far and it’s ugly. Stop talking because when I leave I [will] kill you, your family and your son,” according to news reports. The messages were sent from the account @maximothomsen19, which matches the name of Máximo Thomsen, one of the men charged and detained for Báez’s murder, according to press reports. Moranzoni told CPJ that he did not know who was actually behind the Instagram account.
Moranzoni told CPJ yesterday that he filed a complaint with police on February 15, but has not heard back from authorities.
“Threatening journalists and their families is unacceptable. Argentine authorities should promptly investigate the threats made against Diego Moranzoni and make it clear that they take such actions seriously,” said CPJ Central and South America Program Coordinator Natalie Southwick in New York. “Authorities must ensure that journalists can report safely and without fear that they will be attacked for their work.”
Thomsen and seven other men charged with the killing are detained in the Dolores jail in Buenos Aires, and have been ordered to remain in prison during their trial, according to press reports.
Moranzoni showed screenshots of the threats in an episode of “Crónica 2020” on February 14. The messages also included claims that Thomsen and the others arrested in the case are innocent.
Moranzoni told CPJ that he blocked @maximothomsen19 after receiving the messages, and has not received any other threats. The account has since been shut down.
CPJ’s phone calls to the Buenos Aires police went unanswered.