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Journalist Ximena Marenco threatened in La Rioja, RSF condemns the authorities' failure to act on her behalf

(RSF/IFEX) - RSF calls on the authorities in the province of La Rioja (northwestern Argentina) to implement security measures for Ximena Marenco, a journalist for the privately-owned Radio Fénix radio station, who has been receiving threats.

"Confronted with the inertia of the local authorities in La Rioja, Marenco has even been the target of aggressive actions in the provincial government's own buildings (. . .)," RSF said.

In one of the most recent threats, received on Marenco's mobile phone on 20 February 2009, an anonymous caller said "Watch your mouth, this is a warning." Marenco was able to identify the telephone number of the caller as belonging to a company owned by the family of Vice-Governor Teresita Luna.

The journalist's problems began at the end of 2008, when she left the FM Provincia radio station, which is affiliated with local high-ranking individuals, and went to work for Radio Fénix. She said that she has been "persecuted" since that time. The journalist has tried without success to file a complaint with the police. "I went to the police but they didn't want to register my complaint. They said that from a legal standpoint there was no threat. In reality, it is not important to them because the police force is answerable to the Government and Security Ministry (Ministerio de Gobierno y Seguridad), which is directed by Carlos 'Cacho' Luna, the vice-governor's brother," Marenco said.

On 7 January, two security officers assaulted Marenco when she was in the offices of Governor Luis Beder Herrera. The journalist has also complained of a lack of response from the federal authorities.

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