ASUNCION – A reporter with Paraguay’s ABC Color newspaper was fatally shot Thursday in the eastern town of Curuguaty, becoming the third journalist to be slain in the country this year.
Two people wearing camouflage intercepted Pablo Medina’s car as the correspondent was driving back to Curuguaty after covering a story in nearby Crescencio Gonzalez.
The assailants opened fire on the vehicle.
Medina and 19-year-old Antonia Almada died, while another woman who was in the car escaped unhurt and telephoned local peasant leader Sixto Portillo for help.
Medina had left Curuguaty for several weeks early this year after receiving threats in connection with his reporting, ABC Color said, while Paraguay’s interior minister, Francisco de Vargas, said the threats came from marijuana growers in the area.
The victim’s brother, radio journalist Salvador Medina, was murdered in 2001.
Once news of Pablo Medina’s killing spread, journalists gathered outside national police headquarters in Asuncion, where chief Francisco Pastor Alvarenga promised them he would assign his “best men” to the investigation.
Medina was already dead by the time police arrived at the crime scene on Thursday, but Almada was still alive, ABC Color said.
The police car, however, was not equipped to transport the woman and she no longer had any vital signs by the time an ambulance arrived and transported her to a hospital two hours later, the daily said.
Edgar Pantaleon Fernandez Fleitas, who denounced judicial corruption on his radio program, was gunned down June 19 inside his home in Concepcion, about 300 kilometers (190 miles) north of Asuncion.
Another reporter who covered the drug trade, Fausto Gabriel Alcaraz, was slain May 16 in Pedro Juan Caballero, a town on the border with Brazil.