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Radio station owner brutally attacked in Argentina

(FOPEA/IFEX) - 1 September 2012 - FOPEA condemns the serious attack that took place on 30 August 2012 against Aníbal Palma, owner of the FM Génesis radio station, based in Ingeniero Juárez, Formosa province. According to the police report and what the journalist told FOPEA, Palma was brutally punched, prodded and threatened with death by local media businessman Gregorio Monzón and two of his employees.

In statements to local media, Monzón denied having attacked Palma, but admitted to fighting with him. He also said that Palma had filed a labour complaint against him.

Palma was hospitalised and Monzón was detained overnight, but released after the attack on the journalist was deemed "minor". However Palma said he has burn marks on his face and body and on the clothes he was wearing.

Palma told FOPEA he is worried about what may happen to him and his family, who had been under police protection the night after the attack. He is also worried about his sister Liliana, who is the co-owner of the radio station and who has also received threats. His lawyer, Pedro Cortés, had an explosive thrown at his car on the same night. The radio station was closed for a day out of fear it too could be attacked.

FOPEA calls for the urgent intervention of the police to protect Palma and his family, as part of a larger commitment to their safety on the part of the provincial government and Governor Gildo Insfrán. The organisation calls on the law enforcement authorities to investigate the incident and punish those responsible.

FOPEA also calls on journalists to uphold the highest ethical standards in their work, but recognises that no type of expression justifies an attack in response.

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