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IAPA condemns attack on TV station

(IAPA/IFEX) - Miami, January 13, 2011 - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today called an attack on the Asunción, Paraguay, television station Canal 9 one on "freedom of expression of all people and the Paraguayan media" and called on the authorities to conduct a prompt investigation into the incident to determine who was responsible.

The incident occurred yesterday, when a home-made bomb exploded near the privately-owned TV station's antenna, opening up a hole in the adjoining building.

Although the explosion occurred at a time when the station was broadcasting, no one was injured. Another, similar device exploded in a park bordering the station. According to local news reports, after several hours of confusion about who was behind the blasts, a pamphlet was found in the park indicating that they may have been carried out by a clandestine group calling itself Army of the Paraguayan People (EPP in its Spanish-language acronym).

IAPA President Gonzalo Marroquín declared, "Apart from who may have carried out this attack and what the reasons were for it, it is a thoroughly condemnable action, an act against the freedom of expression of all people and the freedom of the media to report, investigate, bring to account, criticize and express opinions in line with their editorial stances."

Marroquín, editor of the Guatemala City, Guatemala, newspaper Prensa Libre, added, "What is needed is a decisive response on the part of the authorities in order to find those responsible and apply the full force of the law, so that a clear message is sent that the freedom of the people and all the Paraguayan media may not be curtailed."

In the pamphlet that was found the EPP claimed to have made the attack on Canal 9. Under the headline "Without justice there will be no peace" the group declared the TV station to be a "military objective" and warned that "the enslaved press which is based in the capital, which like to call themselves a 'free press', will receive due punishment." The authorities are continuing to investigate whether the missive is genuine.

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