Bogotá, February 16, 2023—Paraguayan authorities must thoroughly investigate the killing of journalist Alexander Álvarez, determine if he was targeted for his work, and bring those responsible to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Thursday.
On Tuesday, February 14, an unidentified attacker on a motorcycle shot Álvarez while he was in his car at a stoplight in Pedro Juan Caballero, a city near Paraguay’s border with Brazil, according to multiple news reports and two of his coworkers who spoke to CPJ.
Álvarez, who produced a morning news program for the local privately owned broadcaster Radio Urundey and hosted an afternoon music program, was transported to a hospital, where he died of two gunshot wounds to the face.
“Paraguayan authorities must conduct a swift investigation into the killing of Alexander Álvarez, determine the motive for the attack, and bring those responsible to justice,” said Carlos Martinez de la Serna, CPJ’s program director, in New York. “It is authorities’ responsibility to make sure journalists are able to do their jobs safely without fear of violence.”
Radio Urundey journalists Rubén Valdez and Nelson Candia told CPJ via messaging app that Álvarez was not an investigative reporter and did not cover sensitive news topics. Separate from his journalism, Álvarez was also a musician and bought and sold vehicles, and some of his clients owed him money, Valdez said.
Baldomero Jorgge, assistant commander of the National Police, told a news conference Wednesday that his agents had not determined the motive of the attack. Pedro Juan Caballero is among the most violent cities in Paraguay due to its criminal gangs involved in drug trafficking, according to the think tank Insight Crime.
Elida Favole, a spokesperson for the attorney general’s office in Asunción, the capital, told CPJ via messaging app that three prosecutors are investigating the killing.