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Community radio reporter assaulted by municipal officials

(RSF/IFEX) - RSF calls on the police and judicial authorities to carry out a thorough investigation into a 17 September 2008 incident in Huizucar, a municipality near San Salvador, in which Allan Martell, a reporter and producer with Radio Bálsamo ( http://balsamofm.blogspot.com ), a community radio station based in Zaragoza , in the western department of La Libertad, was assaulted and threatened by local officials while making a documentary about water distribution problems. Roberto Gúzman, a member of the Communal Vision Development Association (ADESCOVI), a non-governmental organisation based in Huizucar, was also assaulted.

Martell, Gúzman and two members of the United Community Association for Water and Agriculture (ACUA) were filming local residents who are forced to line up every fourth day in the middle of the night in order to obtain water. After about 10 minutes of filming, Huizucar mayor Moisés Amílcar Tamacas blocked their way, using his vehicle to do so. Municipal councillor Julio Hernández then appeared on the scene and tried to seize Gúzman's camera. Municipal administrator José Arias also showed up armed with a machete, which he used to threaten Gúzman. When Martell attempted to film the incident, Arias turned on him and tried to break his camera, forcing Martell to stop filming. Martell has filed a complaint.

RSF said, "We fear that little progress is being made with the investigation because of the positions held by those responsible for the attack. Their positions as mayor and municipal administrator make this kind of press freedom violation all the more unacceptable."

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