Paraguayan Journalist Murdered on Drug-Trafficking Beat
EspañolOn Thursday, October 16, two armed assailants murdered a journalist from Paraguay when they seized the vehicle he was riding in. The crime occurred after he conducted a news report 45 kilometers (28 miles) from Curuguaty, in the northern Canindeyú department.
The 48-year-old Pablo Medina had been a correspondent with the Paraguayan newspaper ABC Color in Curuguaty for 16 years. He devoted his time to covering drug trafficking, contraband, and illegal deforestation.
District Attorney Néstor Cañete shared over local radio that the journalist was intercepted in his vehicle and shot five times, including to the head: “They held him at gunpoint. He was shot from close range, and there was destruction to the brain … they made sure that he died.”
Medina was accompanied by a peasant leader who was wounded in the incident.
Minister of Internal Affairs Francicos de Vargas recounted that Medina had received repeated threats for matters related to his profession.
On Thursday afternoon, workers from the newspaper went out on the streets to march and demand justice for the murder of their colleague.
Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes joined the protests and condemning the incident by sending out a statement in the afternoon: “Our government laments and strongly condemns this murder that not only disrupts our country’s peace, but is also a direct violation of human rights and an attack on freedom of speech in our country.”
Medina is the third journalist known to be murdered in Paraguay so far in 2014. On May 16, Fausto Gabriel Alcaraz, who had made various allegations regarding drug trafficking in Paraguay, was murdered in the city of Pedro Juan Caballero, which borders Brazil. Similarly, on July 19, 43-year-old journalist Edgar Pantaleón Fernández Felitas was found dead in his house in the city of Concepción, 300 kilometers (186 miles) north of Asunción.