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  HOME | Latin America (Click here for more)

Paraguay Cops to Protect Journalists in Area of Reporterís Murder

ASUNCION Ė Paraguayan Interior Minister Francisco de Vargas vowed to provide police protection to journalists in the city of Curuguaty, as requested by press associations following the murder last Thursday of reporter Pablo Medina and his assistant, Antonia Almada.

The measure, agreed upon at a meeting with journalists in the ministry, establishes the immediate application of a security protocol for reporters based in the area and for those traveling there to cover the crime.

Medina, known for his reporting on drug trafficking in the area and the involvement of certain local politicians, had been threatened and at the time he was killed had no police escort, according to Reporters Without Borders, or RSF.

The minister also agreed to study another protocol for permanent police protection for any and all journalists either threatened of headed for dangerous areas.

Medina, 52, was slain together with Almada, 19, while driving along a highway in Canindeyu province.

Police suspects in the murder include Vilmar Acosta, mayor of the city of Ypehu and a member of the ruling Colorado Party, and his brother, Wilson Acosta, for whom an arrest warrant has been issued by the Attorney Generalís Office and whose whereabouts is unknown.

Medina was the third journalist to be slain in the country this year.

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.

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