“It’s risky, isn’t it? To report the truth in these times,” journalist Griselda Blanco told her lawyer in a voice note.
Just days after that, on Saturday, she was found dead in her home in Curuzú Cutiá, Corrientes.
The voice note was played today in a conference journalists gave at the Argentine Federation of Press Workers (FATPREN, its Spanish acronym) branch in Buenos Aires demanding justice for Blanco. Her family and colleagues believe she may have been murdered for her reporting, as Blanco published independent local stories on social media and had been receiving threats for her work.
Her death is being investigated as a homicide by prosecutor María José Barrero Sahagún. Blanco’s partner, Armando Jara, who is also a journalist, was indicted for aggravated homicide.
Today, her partner’s defense attorney, Francisco Adaime, announced he will file for the indictment to be annulled because “there is insufficient evidence.”
“[The prosecutor] should not discard other indicators, like her work and the fact that she denounced every day that she was a victim of violence, of hate messages, intimidation, and pressures,” journalist Silvia Martínez Cassina said today in the conference.
Martínez Cassina also said that Blanco spoke about corruption cases in the local police, as she reported that one of its high-ranking officials had been accused of sexual abuse. She was even served a cease and desist letter regarding the matter.
“Apparently, the guy got angry,” Blanco said in the voice note that was played today. “I am not afraid, but I’m being threatened, and I always report the truth.”
Claudia Acuña, a member of the Periodistas Argentinas collective, an association for women journalists, said at the conference that it was the Corrientes Journalist’s Association (APC) who insisted that the Federal Police (PFA)’s homicide division investigate the case instead of the local police.
“This crime started on the wrong foot. They kill us, and the prosecutor said we kill ourselves,” Acuña said, referring to initial theories that Blanco died by suicide.“We saw the pictures of her body, and the violence she endured was evident. There were no doubts [it was a murder].”
Acuña also said that the “atrocious case found us organized,” explaining that the union is demanding that the Human Rights Secretariat be a plaintiff in the case.
“This is a matter of freedom of expression,” Acuña said. “We don’t want Griselda’s voice to be silenced.”