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New threats against journalists in Tartagal

(FOPEA/IFEX) - FOPEA condemns the latest threats against Mabel Carrizo and Julio Marín, journalists for the Video Tar cable television station in the city of Tartagal, Salta province.

On 16 October 2009 at approximately 6:00 p.m., as Carrizo was leaving her home to go to the television station's offices, she was stopped by a well known local political leader who told her to avoid going out alone because there were people who wanted to hurt her. When Carrizo asked why she was being told this, the politician said that he held her in high esteem and wanted her to know that she should be careful because there were people that were causing trouble.

Marín, on the other hand, received a telephone call on his mobile phone the following day in which the caller warned him that he had been paid 50,000 pesos to kill both him and Carrizo. The telephone call came from a number in the city of Salta, the provincial capital. When Marín tried to return the call, however, no one answered.

The journalists have filed complaints about the threats with the Tartagal police.

Carrizo told FOPEA that she does not believe these latest threats have anything to do with the previously reported issues involving the head of the local government, Sergio Leavy, about which FOPEA issued an alert in July. She believes that the current threats are associated with an issue that is receiving media coverage in Tartagal involving an individual who is passing himself off as a lawyer and who is alleged to have swindled an undetermined number of people. According to information that was confirmed by city councilors in Tartagal, the individual in question, José Alberto San Millán, often presents himself as an advisor for Salta's governor, Juan Manuel Urtubey. The local Lawyer's Association confirmed that he also uses the Tartagal governance secretary's bar association registration number.

FOPEA is concerned about the threats against Carrizo and Marín and the climate of intolerance towards journalists and media outlets in Tartagal. The organisation calls on the local and provincial authorities to ensure that journalists can safely carry out their work.

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