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Threatened journalist gunned down in Jujuy, colleagues believe murder work-related

(RSF/IFEX) - RSF has voiced its revulsion at the murder on 19 March 2008 of Juan Carlos Zambrano, host of the programme "Con la gente" broadcast by the local television station, Canal 7, in front of his home in San Salvador de Jujuy in north-western Argentina.

One of the two suspected killers has been arrested. The journalist's colleagues immediately said that Zambrano, who had received constant threats, was likely killed because of his work.

"We express our deep condolences to the friends and family of Juan Carlos Zambrano and his colleagues at Radio Televisión Jujuy," RSF said.

"We urge the authorities in Jujuy province to shed all possible light on this killing, knowing that the victim had enemies within local political circles. Investigators should give full attention to the possibility that his journalism was the motive for the killing."

"Evidence from the spouse of the dead man and also from a suspect in the killing, now in custody, should quickly allow this to be corroborated or ruled out."

Zambrano was returning home at 2:00 a.m. (local time) on 19 March 2008 when he was ambushed by two men, who shot him twice at point blank range. Nothing was stolen from him. Local officials said that one of his suspected killers had been arrested and the other one was still at large.

The 42-year-old, who had worked since 1992 for Canal 7, part of the Radio Televisión Jujuy group, had launched a new weekly news programme, "Con la gente", at the beginning of March, covering local day-to-day problems. He had recently condemned on air a hike in the cost of public transport in Jujuy, which had attracted virulent criticism of him by several municipal councilors.

One of his colleagues, Sabrina Galván, said he had been under constant threat from Jujuy's political and trade union figures. Zambrano's lawyer Bruno Aguilar told RSF that Zambrano had received threats after saying he was going to file a defamation suit against Pablo Lozano, a councilor in the provincial capital San Salvador de Jujuy, who had strongly criticised him in two articles published in 2007.

Galván had no doubts about the motives for the killing. "This murder is linked to Juan Carlos Zambrano's journalistic work. It was neither by chance nor for theft," she told RSF.

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