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Argentina16 January 2009

Mystery attackers take radio off air after sabotage of its aerial

Reporters Without Borders today condemned sabotage against LT6 Radio Goya in Corrientes, capital of the province of the same name. Saboteurs cut through the cables of the radio’s aerial, preventing it from broadcasting on its usual frequency and reaching all its listeners.

The 70-metre structure supporting the aerial collapsed suddenly on 12 January taking programmes off air. Police said three steel cables had been severed, probably with a metal saw. It was not known why the attack was launched but it caused damaged estimated at 100,000 pesos (about 22,000 euros or 29,000 dollars), “an amount impossible to find” for the small team of 20 journalists who run the station on a cooperative basis.

The radio was launched on 31 January 1952 and was the first station to broadcast on the AM band in Corrientes province. It is now broadcasting on the FM “Espléndida” band but cannot be heard by all its previous listeners, said the Argentine Journalism Forum (FOPEA), the national organisation for the defence of press freedom.

“From the circumstances of this sabotage, it is obvious that the intention was to silence LT6 Radio Goya”, the worldwide press freedom organisation said. “This was not an act of vandalism, but a carefully planned operation by people who were familiar with the station’s installations.”

“We hope that an investigation will quickly uncover the motive for and the perpetrators of this attack and that LT6 Radio Goya can get the help it needs to be able to resume broadcasting normally,” it added.

The association of Corrientes journalists strongly protested against the sabotage and the province’s interior and justice minister, Walter Insaurralde, promised “to find those responsible for this appalling attack on press freedom”.

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