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Paraguay journalist killed in ambush

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Asuncion, Oct 17 :

Pablo Medina, a reporter in a Paraguayan newspaper was killed in an ambush along with a woman while travelling in his car Thursday. He was the third journalist to be killed in this South American nation this year.

Two people wearing camouflage clothing intercepted Medina’s car as the correspondent with the ABC Colour newspaper and the other victim were driving to Curuguaty and opened fire on the vehicle.

Medina apparently died instantly and police found the woman Antonia Almada, 19, wounded but still alive.

According to ABC Colour, the police car was not equipped to transport the woman and she died before reaching the hospital in an ambulance.

Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes has condemned as an attack on free speech the killing of journalist Pablo Medina.

“Our government regrets and condemns this murder that not only threatens the peace of our country, but is also a direct violation of human rights and an attack on freedom of expression in our country,” he said in a statement released Thursday.

Paraguayan Interior Minister Francisco de Vargas confirmed that Medina had regularly received threats for his reporting on the production of marijuana in the area.

Cartes also sent his condolences to the families of the two victims as well as to all representatives of the Paraguayan press.

“A few moments ago, I spoke with Aldo Zuccolillo, director of the ABC newspaper, to convey my condolences and to reiterate that we are conducting a thorough investigation so that these murders do not go unpunished,” he said.

The president added that he would use “all the weight of the law and forces of the state”, so that those responsible pay for their crimes.

“To all the media, citizens in general and to the families of the victims, I reiterate our commitment to fight organised crime,” Cartes concluded.

Edgar Pantaleon Fernandez Fleitas, who denounced judicial corruption on his radio programme, was gunned down in June inside his home in the city of Concepcion.

Another reporter who covered the drug trade, Fausto Gabriel Alcaraz, was slain the month in Pedro Juan Caballero, a town on the border with Brazil.

Medina’s brother, radio journalist Salvador Medina, was murdered in 2001.

-IANS/EFE