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IAPA concerned over targeting of critical media

(IAPA/IFEX) - Miami (15 May 2009) - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) expressed concern over what it sees as a "hostile attitude" towards critical media in Argentina and condemned any actions aimed at making the situation more tense. IAPA was referring to the fact that slogans against the newspaper Clarín were recently painted on a number of newsstands.

In its 15 May edition, Clarín reported that graffiti stating "Clarín Lies" appeared, after having been presumably spray painted at dawn on 14 May.

IAPA president Enrique Santos Calderón, of the Colombian newspaper El Tiempo, said, "each week there is another incident that points to the deterioration in relations between the Argentine press and the government. We fear that this pattern could escalate and lead to violent actions."

A similar incident occurred on 7 May when the graffiti "Clarín Lies" was spray painted over some advertisements. Moreover, La Nación newspaper noted that three media cooperatives in Buenos Aires were recently prevented by truckers from distributing some of their newspapers and magazines. Similarly, in November 2008, about 200 demonstrators from a truckers' union prevented vehicles from leaving the publishing plants for Clarín, La Nación and the Centre for Distributing Magazines in Buenos Aires.

At the end of March, Grupo Clarín's satellite signal experienced some interference which resulted in interruptions in its audiovisual media, both inside and outside the country. Robert Rivard, of IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, said the organisation was dismayed by the fact that "the authorities have not taken into account the results of our investigations."

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