The raid carried out this Friday by Interpol on radio station Azul FM by order of the Prosecutor’s Office, which also included the house of journalist Ignacio Álvarez, as part of an ex officio investigation after the public dissemination of intimate audios without the consent of the parties involved linked to the rape case that occurred in Cordón a few days ago, led to the reaction and criticism from different political figures, mostly linked to the ruling party, although they also from rows of the left there were objections.
A request requested by prosecutor Mariana Alfaro and signed by Judge Patricia Rodríguez ordered the search in order to “obtain useful evidence for the investigation and verify the origin and exact content of the recordings reproduced” on the program La Pecera, which is broadcast by Azul and Álvarez drivesas established by the court order to which he agreed The Observer.
The raid took place around noon on Friday. When Interpol arrived at Álvarez’s address, which they had declared, they found that the journalist no longer resides there. After a phone call with Álvarez, he refused to appear at Interpol headquarters and present the devices used to produce the program.
On his Twitter account, Álvarez assured that he will appeal the sentence. “They pass me videos that radically change the appearance of a fact, and despite broadcasting the audios without identifying anyone, the Broad Front wants to send me to prison and Justice raids my house and the radio to seize reserved journalistic information. Know that I will continue looking the truth,” he later wrote, referring to the raid already the denunciation made by leaders of that party.
What happened on Friday generated different statements and publications from political figures and the legal field who criticized the actions of the Justice. The senator Guido Manini Rios, leader of Cabildo Abierto, wrote: “I think this is very serious,” and accused the Justice of acting under pressure and political bias. “The speed with which ‘Justice’ acts on certain issues, in which a political party exerts undue pressure, is striking. Years ago we denounced the bias of some judges and prosecutors, and many were horrified,” he tweeted.
For his part, the Minister of Work, Pablo Mieres, He commented that “the raids arranged by the Prosecutor’s Office at the headquarters of a media outlet and at the house of a journalist are very serious events that affect freedom of expression and that surprise us and that we totally reject.”
In his account on the same network, the Colorado deputy Ope Pasquet considered that “the law says that journalists have the right to keep their sources of information secret. That right is an empty shell if the journalist’s cell phone, computer or papers or files can be seized. I believe that in the Álvarez case , Justice exceeded”.
His colleague and co-religionist Felipe Schipani, meanwhile, published “the raid on Azul FM and the confiscation of computers, cell phones and other work materials from journalists is worrying. One of the most expensive values of our democracy is at stake, as it is Press freedom”.
The nationalist senator Grace Bianchi She said in an interview with 970 Noticias (Universal radio) that she was “shocked. I never thought it would reach these extremes” regarding the court order, and stated that the situation “confirms” previous statements she had made, in which he stated that the Judiciary was “infiltrated”.
The member of the Electoral Court and former minister Ana Lía Piñeyrúa sHe pointed out on Twitter: “The search of a media outlet and the house of a journalist is a very serious act that threatens basic principles of democracy, freedom of expression and, in the specific case of the journalist, the confidentiality of the source. The Prosecutor’s Office owes us an explanation.”
The Frente Amplio deputy Micaela Melgar, one of those responsible for the complaint against Álvarez, celebrated the action of Justice. “Excellent institutional response from the Prosecutor’s Office on this issue,” she tweeted. Instead, the president of the Broad Front, Fernando Pereira, He said this Saturday at a press conference that one of the elements that generated “more doubts” about the actions of the Judiciary was the request for the seizure of the cell phone of journalist Ignacio Álvarez.
The opinion of two experts
Beyond the statements and political positions, there was also criticism of the raids by lawyers and experts on freedom of expression. “Not only does it take me back to 70, but it’s a crime,” said criminal lawyer Juan Fagundez. And he added: “I do not mean by crime who executes the oren but who issues it. This raid seeks to find out the source that provided the journalist. Not only does the law protect the source, but a journalist who delivers the source is fired. So, through a search, the law is violated by illegally seeking evidence.”
For his part, Edison Lanza, former rapporteur for freedom of expression of the Organization of American States (OAS) and current head of the Canelones Municipality, also raised his objections about the actions of the prosecutor. “Journalists are not outside the law, but freedom of the press is a constitutional right. It contains specific protections such as the confidentiality of sources. Raiding a media outlet and seizing journalist’s devices violates the right,” he said.