Journalists attacked and arrested while reporting on protests
VIDEO Camarógrafo quemado y herido por bomba de estruendo. Alejandro Muñoz de Canal 2. Ahora en hospital San Roque. pic.twitter.com/EcOKc3EjRA— Matías Angulo (@matiasangulo74) March 7, 2017
On 7th March 2017, Channel 2 cameraman, Alejandro Muñoz, was filming a demonstration organised by public servants' unions in San Salvador, when he was wounded by protesters who threw a bomb in his direction.
On 8th March 2017, at least four journalists were attacked by protesters in Buenos Aires during the International Women´s Day march. Mariana Abiuso, a journalist with TN Noticias, Gisela Busaniche from Telefé Noticias, Luciana Arias from América TV and Alan Ferraro from Canal 26 were all attacked, insulted and injured. In addition, Laura Arnés from the newspaper Página 12 was arrested by police after the march had already ended.
Large-scale marches for International Women's Day took place on 8th March 2017 in the capital and several other cities. In Buenos Aires, hundreds of thousands of women and men marched peacefully through the city streets. Then in an act of provocation, a small group of young women with their faces covered started a fire in front of the cathedral in the Plaza de Mayo, close to where the police were stationed. The police reacted to the provocation with tear gas fired against the demonstrators. Around 20 women were arrested, most of them arbitrarily, as they were no evidence of their direct involvement in the disorder and misconduct.
The Argentine Journalism Forum (Foro de Periodismo Argentino, FOPEA) issued a public statement condemning attacks against journalists during demonstrations and demanding more security for reporters. According to FOPEA's recently released Report on Freedom of Expression in 2016, violations of the right to freedom of expression decreased in 2016 compared with previous years. However, aggression against journalists has risen at an alarming rate over the past few months of 2017.
In its report, FOPEA documented cases of violations of free expression as follows: 65 in 2016, 94 in 2015, and 178 in 2014. Of the 65 verified cases in 2016, 46 took place in the provinces, 18 in Buenos Aires, and one abroad. Documented violations included harassment, death threats, censorship, psychological abuse, and even physical violence.
As FOPEA's Vice President Alfredo Zacarías stated,
"At first glance we can say that there has been a notorious reduction in the number of attacks against the press. But we need to wonder whether this is enough. In FOPEA we believe it is not, we are still far away from the standards that would make us feel proud and safe in the exercise of the profession we have chosen".
In addition, on 3rd March 2017, a digital news media outlet in Santa Fe province, Edición Límite, was hacked and inaccessible for several days. The attack was reportedly related to some articles that the media outlet had published criticising the president of the provincial Court of Auditors. The Press Association of Santa Fe (Asociación de Prensa de Santa Fe, APSF) and the Argentine Journalism Forum both condemned the hack and demanded an investigation into the case.