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Radio stations vandalised, TV station vehicles damaged, journalists injured and threatened

(IAPA/IFEX) - The following is an IAPA press release:

IAPA draws attention to violence against journalists while condemning new attack in Bolivia

Miami (November 20, 2008) - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today communicated its solidarity with journalists and news media in Nicaragua and called on the international community to pay attention to attacks and intimidating acts against them in the recent clashes between government party supporters and opponents.

"We urge concerned Nicaraguan authorities and politicians to maintain calm among their supporters who have made journalists their target in these clashes," declared IAPA President Enrique Santos Calderón, editor of the Bogotá, Colombia, newspaper El Tiempo.

Santos commented after 40 masked and armed people destroyed Radio Darío's building in León on November 18. The attackers, believed to be sympathizers of the ruling party, brandished AK assault rifles and grenade launchers and beat up and threatened workers there. Also damaged were radio stations Radio Caricia and Radio Metro Estéreo which broadcast from the same location.

Radio Darío Director Juan José Toruño blamed Sandinista congressman Filiberto Rodríguez, who was at the scene at the time. Local news media linked the violence to an opposition rally protesting alleged fraud in last Sunday's elections. According to the Nicaraguan press, government supporters clashed violently with the marchers and then headed for the radio station.

The chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Robert Rivard, editor and executive vice president of the San Antonio Express-News, Texas, recalled that earlier this week the IAPA had protested news of attacks on news media and individual journalists, some of whom were prevented by government supporters from reporting the news in León, in western Nicaragua.

Also occurring yesterday was the destruction in Managua of a vehicle belonging to Canal 2 and a Jeep from Telenica Canal 8, both privately owned television stations. To be able to cover these incidents reporters required anti-riot police protection. Iván Olivares, from the weekly Confidencial, was stabbed and injured. Reuters photographer Oswaldo Rivas was also injured. Opponents of the government also beat and stoned reporters Antenor Peña Solano, from state-owned Canal 4 television, and Octavio Sevilla, a reporter for Radio Ya radio station.


The IAPA also repudiated a dynamite attack on the installations of Canal 13 TV belonging to San Francisco Javier State University in Sucre, Bolivia, on Monday (November 17). No one was injured in the incident, but the plant suffered damage. The channel was the target last year of another attack which was never clarified.

Other attacks with explosives were reported in June this year against the headquarters of privately owned Canal 4-Unitel television in Yacuiba, in the southern Bolivian province of Tarija, and Radio Kollasuyo radio station in Potosi, to the southwest.

For further information on earlier post-election attacks on the media in Nicaragua, see:

For further information on the attack on Canal 13 in Bolivia, see:

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