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SPP condemns actions against journalist, attempt to censor radio station

(SPP/IFEX) - At 10:00 p.m. on 11 August 2010, journalist Martín Caballero, an announcer for the Radio Sagrado Corazón de Jesús (90.5 FM) radio station in Villa Hayes, was followed by an unknown vehicle that tried to force him off the road. The vehicle's occupants also fired two gunshots into the air. Later, two men on a motorcycle intercepted Caballero. One of the men threw a stone at the journalist's vehicle, while the other threatened him with a revolver.

Caballero has been publicising allegations relating to a strike by workers at the Paraguay Steel Company (Aceros del Paraguay, ACEPAR) that has been going on for more than 100 days. He has also publicised negative information about police activities in the region.

In addition to the actions against Caballero, prosecutor Gabriel Ramírez Palumbo has asked judge Tadeo Fernández to issue an order for Radio Sagrado Corazón de Jesús, which is owned by the ACEPAR Workers' Cooperative (Cooperativa de Trabajadores de ACEPAR, COOTRAPAR), to stop interviewing ACEPAR labour leaders.

SPP is concerned about the violence taking place in Villa Hayes as a result of the failure to resolve the conflict at the privatised steel company, particularly as the situation has begun to affect media workers as well. In addition, SPP considers the request made by the prosecutor, Ramírez Palumbo, to be unacceptable and calls on the judge to dismiss it as an affront to press freedom and freedom of expression.

(Please note this is an abridged translation.)

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