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Paraguay1 March 2006

Shots fired at journalist on daily ABC Color

Reporters Without Borders condemned an attack in which shots were fired at Juan Augusto Roa of the daily newspaper ABC Color, based in the city of Encarnación in southern Paraguay.

“We are extremely concerned by the evident return of violence and intimidation against journalists in Paraguay,” the press freedom organisation said.

“We call on the authorities to carry out a thorough investigation into the motives for this attack and to do their utmost to see that the perpetrators of this crime are punished.”

The organisation also called for the investigation to be actively pursued into the disappearance of journalist Enrique Galeano, who has been missing since 10 February 2006.

“The outcome of these inquiries will demonstrate how much the authorities care about journalists, who are frequently mistreated and harassed in the country”, it added.

The journalist fortunately escaped unharmed after two men on a motorbike opened fire as he was driving his car just before midnight between the city suburbs of Mayor Otaño and Itapúa on 27 February 2006.

One bullet hit the windscreen and a second only winged the car. The journalist stopped and leaped out, taking refuge at the side of the road. The two men continued on their way without stopping. Augusto Roa reported the incident to police at Yatytay and the two men are being hunted.

The region is a hub of trafficking in drugs and stolen cars. Augusto Roa had investigated and reported on cases of this kind as well as on local corruption.

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