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Dominican Republic1 October 2004

TV station director is the target of murder attempt

Reporters Without Borders has expressed concern over the attempted assassination of Euri Cabral, director of Channel 23 television and host of Radio Z-101’s "El gobierno de la Mañana" programme.

"We ask you to do everything possible to ensure that the attackers and those behind the attack are identified and punished as soon as possible. This assassination attempt was obviously carefully planned. It is important to prevent the emergence of a climate of impunity in the Dominican Republic," said Reporters Without Borders in a letter to Interior Minister Franklin Almeyda Rancier.

"We are particularly worried given that this is the second serious attack against the press following the death of a journalist in Azua, east of Santo Domingo, on 14 September 2004. Reporters in this city say they are still receiving threats. Their aggressors, who are notorious criminals, must be brought under control quickly," said Reporters Without Borders.

"However, we welcome the reaction of President Leonel Fernández, who immediately condemned the attack on Cabral, as well as the authorities’ initiative to grant protection to all the journalists who work on the programme," the organisation added.

On the night of 29 September, after hosting the programme "Temas del día" on Channel 23, Cabral was the target of an assassination attempt in Santo Domingo. He was in his vehicle when a car tried to block his path. Two individuals on motorcycle fired several shots at the car, including three shots at head-level.

Police have arrested a suspect, but his identity has not yet been revealed. Cabral said members of the former government and the police may have been responsible for the attack, which he believed was designed to spread fear among the media.

The journalist has been very critical of former president Hipolito Mejía and is reputed to have close ties to the governing Dominican Liberation Party (Partido de la Liberación Dominicana, PLD). He has spoken out frequently in favour of putting officials from the Mejía government on trial for corruption.

Before the 16 August presidential election, he received threats, which he did not consider serious. He is now under police protection.

Meanwhile, in the city of Azua, where journalist Juan Andújar was killed by gang members on 14 September, journalists are still being threatened. Several journalists, as well as those close to them, have received further death threats.

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