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Journalists assaulted, harassed while covering release from jail of former military general

(SPP/IFEX) - The SPP condemns the mistreatment of journalists Luis Acosta of Radio Mil and Félix Chávez of Radio 1000, based in Asuncion. The incident in question occurred in Caacupé on 6 September 2007, while the journalists were attempting to cover the release from prison of former general Lino Oviedo.

Acosta was forced to stop his reportage of the event, after being struck in the face by one of Oviedo's bodyguards.

Moments later, a group of Oviedo's supporters surrounded Chávez and doused him with cold water, saying, "You must learn to be clean before talking about Lino".

In addition, "La Nación" daily reported that photojournalists Carlos Juri and Aníbal Gauto, of "La Nación", and René González, of the "Ultima Hora" daily, were prevented from covering the event by Oviedo's bodyguards who hit and shoved them.

SPP condemns the incidents and calls on all parties to respect the work of the press. The organisation warns that such cases of intolerance and violence against journalists, which are all the more frequent, add to the pressures faced by the press and have a debilitating effect on the right to receive information, and on freedom of expression and of the press.

SPP calls on journalists to remain vigilant and to deter further attacks, threats and intimidations against their colleagues, while continuing to work towards the consolidation of a committee for freedom of expression and the protection of journalism.

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