Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Reporters Without Borders condemns the intimidation and threats made two days ago against the community magazine La Garganta Poderosa in Villa Zabaleta, a poor district of Buenos Aires. About a dozen armed members of the national border guard raided its offices and seized newsroom equipment without a warrant or explanation.
"This violent police operation against La Garganta Poderosa and its staff with no legal basis whatsoever are a gross abuse of power," the press freedom organization said.
"A federal inquiry must be carried out to establish as soon as possible the reason for such action and punish those behind it. The police high command, for its part, must be held to account for the behaviour of its forces.
"In what capacity are military border guards mandated to silence a local magazine?"
The Villa Zabaleta district was traumatized by the death of a nine-year-old boy on 7 September after violent clashes between local gangs and also between the gangsters and the police. Hours before the raid on La Garganta Poderosa, journalists from the magazine had gone with members of the boy's family to court to file a formal complaint. That evening, five military police trucks appeared suddenly in the area.
"They looked as if they were ready for war," an editor from La Garganta Poderosa told Reporters Without Borders. "They failed to show us any legal mandate and refused to identify themselves. When a colleague asked them to do so, they shoved him against a wall and twisted his arm. They wanted to arrest him, but we stopped them after a short struggle."
There is less violence towards journalists in Argentina than elsewhere in the region, but assaults have increased in recent months, particularly in the provinces. Journalist Daniel Ortigoza, owner of the radio station FM Imperio in the north-eastern province of Misiones, told Reporters Without Borders he was hospitalized after being beaten up by the mayor of Puerto Esperanza, Alfredo Gruber, on 13 September, while police officers looked on. He had previously referred to the possible involvement of the mayor's nephew in the murder of an 18-year-old woman last year.
Another cloud hanging over Argentina is the fact that it has one of South America's four journalists held in prison, namely Néstor Omar Pasquini, who entered his third year in custody in Córdoba province on 12 September.<br/>