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Journalist receives death threat

(IAPA/IFEX) - Miami, February 22, 2011 - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today condemned death threats made against a journalist with the Nicaraguan newspaper El Nuevo Diario in apparent reprisal for his investigative reporting; at the same time the organization called on officials to conduct a prompt investigation and ensure the man's safety.

Luis Galeano received a death threat on his mobile phone on Saturday (February 19) warning him "you only have 72 hours to live." The same day a letter addressed to him was delivered to the newspaper, pressuring him to refrain from publishing information about alleged fraud in the Supreme Electoral Council, which he and a colleague, José Adán Silva, had investigated and the first part of which was printed on 21 February. Galeano reported the threats to police.

The newspaper's editor, Francisco Chamorro, told the IAPA that this was the third threat that Galeano has received this year. Chamorro, who is the vice chairman for Nicaragua of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, said that last month Galeano was "warned" of danger to his physical well-being for reporting on alleged corruption in the Revenue Office and the Finance Ministry.

IAPA President Gonzalo Marroquín, president of the Guatemala City, Guatemala, newspaper Siglo 21, urged officials to "investigate promptly and apply the full weight of the law to anyone who attempts to gag journalists and news media through intimidation and harassment," and declared the actions against Galeano to be part of a campaign against the newspaper and its journalists.

The co-chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Claudio Paolillo, editor of the Uruguayan weekly newsmagazine Búsqueda, added, "These threats should not be taken lightly by the authorities, since we have found during our investigations that the majority of journalists' murders in the Americas occur after the victims have been threatened."

IAPA officers recalled that in addition to attempts to intimidate Galeano, the organization also complained earlier this month about delayed releases from Customs of supplies imported for the newspaper's production by officials annoyed that the paper denounced corruption in that government agency.

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