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Radio journalist's home shot upon; sports TV journalist receives death threats

(RSF/IFEX) - RSF calls for a response from the government after the increased threat of violence to Dominican Republic journalists was confirmed by a shooting attack on the home of radio host Héctor Abreu in the southwestern town of Tamayo on 6 July 2007, and threatening phone calls to television producer Juan Cadena in the capital came to light the same day.

"Two weeks after two reporters were attacked and threatened with lynching while covering a demonstration, the attack on Abreu and the threats to Cadena confirm the deterioration in press freedom in the Dominican Republic," RSF said.

"We fear for the safety of Abreu and Cadena and we are astonished that the authorities are taking so long to come up with an appropriate response to these serious, recurring events," RSF added. "An initiative is needed at the ministerial level to protect journalists and combat impunity."

A presenter on Radio Azua and a correspondent for Radio Enriquillo, Abreu said he did not know why shots were fired at his house in the early hours of 6 July, leaving impact marks, while he and his family were asleep inside. But he acknowledged that he had reported on several crimes committed in the region where he works.

Cadena, the producer of a daily programme on the Santo Domingo-based television station Sport Visión, said he was threatened at least four times by telephone. An anonymous caller told him he would be killed if he did not stop saying "nonsense" on his programme. Cadena acknowledged commenting on a general strike which several labour and social organisations called for 9 July.

Attacks on the press have become more frequent and violent in the Dominican Republic since the beginning of 2007. The National Union of Press Workers (Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de Prensa, SNTP) and RSF have recorded over 30 cases since 1 January.

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