The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
today called on authorities in the Argentina capital, Buenos Aires , to
reconsider their decision to close down the office of the Federación Argentina
de Trabajadores de Prensa (FATPREN), an IFJ affiliate, on allegations of organising social functions on the premises
without proper authorisation.
"The decision of the city authorities to close down
an office over a function which would last only a few hours beggars belief,"
said Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. "Our members have made it clear that there
was no need to seek special permit as the event did not cause any inconvenience
to the public. We urge the authorities to reopen the office forthwith."
FATPREN said in a statement that officials from the
City Hall, supported by security forces entered the union's premises as a group
of about 50 journalists were celebrating the Radio Operator's Day. They ordered
the guests to leave and closed the office, claiming the union had failed to
seek permission to hold private parties on the premises. They left a closure
notice mentioning ‘work and security' as reasons for the measure but did not
request union officials to report to any relevant authorities.
FATPREN challenged the measure, saying the event
took place inside their office, away from the street and presented no reason
for concern to the police patrols. This was the second time the union offices
have been raided by the authorities in its history, according to FATPREN
statement. The first raid was in 1976 under the dictatorial regime when
security forces came to arrest the union leaders and to destroy evidence of
crimes committed by the military junta.
The IFJ joined its regional organisation, La
Federación de Periodistas de América Latina y el Caribe (FEPALC) in urging
Mauricio Macri, Mayor of Buenos, to
ensure the office is re-opened immediately so that journalists as well as their
families can have access to services which are provided in the building.
"The circumstances surrounding the closure of the
union suggest that there was unwarranted interference in the union affairs and
that is unacceptable," added Boumelha. "The authorities must act quickly to
restore our colleagues in their rights."
information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting + 32 2 235 22 07 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
The IFJ represents more than
600.000 journalists in 131 countries