30 January 1998


Photojournalist who spoke at commemoration of murder of journalist Cabezas receives threats; other threats against journalists

Incident details

Esteban Mac Allister, Jose Luis Cabezas



(Periodistas/IFEX) - On 26 January 1998, a day after the massive public call
for justice in the January 1997 murder of journalist Jose Luis Cabezas,
Esteban Mac Allister, Vice-President of the photojournalists' association,
the Asociacion de Reporteros Graficos (ARGRA), received a threatening
message on his Buenos Aires office answering machine. "You're dead, you're
dead," ("Has muerto, has muerto") said a man's distorted voice which sounded
as if it were coming from beyond the grave. Mac Allister was the last to
speak at the 25 January event in Pinamar which attracted 6,000 people to
protest the impunity in the case so far. It is thought the phone call, which
was made to one of the reporter's numbers which is not widely known, was
recorded a few hours after the speech or perhaps at the same time.

**For background on murder of Cabezas, see IFEX alerts of 14 and 2 October,
2 September, 14 February and 27 January 1997**

News of this incident was made public in a press conference given by Mac
Allister, Hector Sosa, press officer for the Buenos Aires media workers'
union (the Union de Trabajadores de Prensa de Buenos Aires, UTPBA), ARGRA
President Osvaldo Barattucci and Periodistas member Oscar Serrat. The UTPBA,
ARGRA and Periodistas also denounced that on 25 January police stopped
several groups of journalists in the province of Corrientes. Delegations of
journalists were travelling as a group to the Pinamar event. Police did not
simply check their papers; they detained them to identify each individual,
taking down their names and the numbers on their identity papers before
letting them continue on.

UTPBA, ARGRA and Periodistas also condemned the threats made against several
journalists from the Parana, Entre Rios daily "El Diario". On 22 January, a
message was sent to the editorial office of the paper saying, "Stop.. with
the Cabezas story and the foolish disappeared.... Don't forget Cabezas, do
the event on the 25th and we'll kill penpushers ". The note was signed by
the "Malvinas Group, Rivadavia 180, 3100. Parana," but it was postmarked
"Buenos Aires province, POLICE HEADQUARTERS, Entre Rios department, Work
Group 8."

In another incident, on 27 January 1998, an unidentified person made two
threatening telephone calls to journalist Gabriela Cerruti of the magazine
"Trespuntos." Cerruti is the author of a recent report on the former naval
captain Alfredo Astiz, in which Astiz recognizes for the first time his
responsibility in the illegal repression which occured in Argentina during
the last military dictatorship. He also said in the report that he was " the
man best prepared to kill a politician or a journalist." Astiz's statements
set off a scandal that ended in his removal from the navy by direct order of
President Menem.


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