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Journalist threatened at gunpoint by radio station intruder

(FOPEA/IFEX) - 29 May 2012 - FOPEA firmly condemns death threats against journalist Gustavo Tinetti, manager of Grupo Nueve and host of the "Despertate" radio programme. On 29 May 2012, Tinetti was threatened by an unidentified armed man who broke into the Cadena Nueve radio station in 9 de Julio, Buenos Aires province.

Minutes before starting his morning programme, Tinetti heard a loud noise at the entrance to the station's offices and saw a bald man break in. The intruder asked the journalist if he was "Dr. Tinetti" and when he said that he was, the man took out a revolver and said: "Stop threatening to publish the rest of the information we know you have . . . or you're going to end up in a funerary urn. Today I won't kill or hurt you. Understand the message? Jerk! Take care of your daughters - we know where they go to school, where they live, what they do. We've had it with you . . . next time your number is up."

The armed man left the station, got into a car and drove away. He was dressed in jeans, a white t-shirt, and carried the gun in a blue bag in his right hand. On his other hand he appeared to be wearing a concealed knuckle-duster.

Tinetti told FOPEA he thinks the incident is related to an investigation he is doing on the 9 de Julio mayor, Walter R. Battistella, and accusations of tax evasion. Tinetti said he does have more information on the topic that he has not yet shared, but plans to report on in the upcoming days. The newspaper "Tiempo" published a story about Battistella initiating legal action against "a local digital media outlet for extortion and defamation", in relation to reports on a case of tax evasion, which he referred to as "false allegations."

Tinetti told FOPEA that while he has received messages of support from throughout the city, it is striking that not a single municipal official has commented on the attack. He also said that on 28 May someone had tried to get into the station while he was broadcasting, but the door was locked.

The journalist reported the attack to the Office of District Attorney Dr. Marcelo Gómez, based in the neighbouring city of Mercedes, and said he was looking into ways of protecting his family and media outlets.

FOPEA calls on the Buenos Aires provincial authorities to provide security measures for Tinetti, his colleagues and family, and demands that those responsible for the incident are investigated. FOPEA also calls on the authorities to show their support for the journalist and publicly declare their commitment to defending free expression.

(Please note this is an abridged translation.)
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