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Arson attack on radio news programme host's car a "gangster-style message", says victim

(RSF/IFEX) - RSF condemns an arson attack on the car of news programme host Carlos Carvallo of FM Show radio station in Garupá, in the northeastern province of Misiones, who has often spoken on the air about shady financial dealings allegedly involving the mayor of a neighbouring town. The car was dowsed with petrol and set on fire on 19 February 2008 while parked in the garage of his home.

"We are not in a position to say this attack was clearly linked to Carvallo's criticism of a local official on the air, but the police should consider this possibility in the absence of other apparent motives," RSF said. "We hail the rapid reaction of the provincial authorities to the attack, which could have killed Carvallo and his entire family, and we hope the investigation will quickly identify who was behind it."

Carvallo and his family were woken at about 4 a.m. (local time) on 19 February by a loud explosion as the fire consumed his car, which was parked inside the garage of his house. He found an empty 20-litre petrol can beside the remains of his car, which was completely destroyed by the fire, as was one of the walls of the garage.

The co-host of the FM Show news programme "El show de los impactos", Carvallo told RSF the attack may be linked to his revelations about corruption involving a local mayor, whom he preferred not to name. He said this mayor had "managed to amass a fortune in six months that would be hard to acquire by legal means."

"This was a gangster-style message but it will only serve to reinforce my vocation as a journalist," he said. After reporting the arson attack, he was assigned police protection by the provincial authorities.

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