The explosion of a home-made bomb outside the headquarters of the media
company Copesa, publisher of the daily *La Tercera*, and cyber-attacks on
three news websites during the past few days have punctured the
non-existent dialogue between the government and the vast, student-led
protest movement that has rocked Chile since the start of the year [http://en.rsf.org/chile-citizen-activism-challenges-17-08-2011,40799.html](http://en.rsf.org/chile-citizen-activism-challenges-17-08-2011,40799.html).
Amid mounting social tension and outbreaks of violence at the generally
peaceful demonstrations, journalists are increasingly exposed to hostility
and police repression [http://en.rsf.org/chile-more-media-freedom-violations-18-10-2011,41233.html](http://en.rsf.org/chile-more-media-freedom-violations-18-10-2011,41233.html).
Reporters Without Borders fears a negative effect on the media and on the
public debate that Chile badly needs.
“All the Chilean media, both alternative and traditional, are threatened by
these online attacks on three news websites and the homemade bomb attack on
Copesa,” Reporters Without Borders said. “This climate of violence must be
checked by police and judicial action and by a political response to the
public’s calls for media pluralism. A broad debate involving all of society
cannot be put off any longer. Otherwise the situation will keep
deteriorating and there will be a dangerous increase in intolerance and
*Mauricio Tolosa*, the co-founder and editor of the *Sitiocero* website [http://sitiocero.net/](http://sitiocero.net/), was the target of a cyber-attack on 4 November
which caused him to lose all the site’s records since June and forced him
to suspend operations for 24 hours. Two alternative news websites, *La Otra
Voz* [http://www.laotravoz.cl/](http://www.laotravoz.cl/) and *Puro Periodismo* [http://www.puroperiodismo.cl/](http://www.puroperiodismo.cl/), were also hacked at around the same time without suffering as much damage.
Tolosa, who is also concerned about polarization, told Reporters Without
Borders: “Both our site and the two other sites provide analysis and
contextualization, and debate broad issues of interest to the public. They
are not overtly political or activist sites.” *Sitiocero* has had 200,000
visitors in the past six months, he said. A source close to the Anonymous
movement told *Sitiocero* that the hackers were probably Neo-Nazis.
The homemade bomb explosion outside the Copesa building on the night of 1
November shattered some windows but caused no injuries. The building houses
*La Tercera*, one of Chile’s leading dailies.
A hitherto unknown group calling itself the Voltaire Argandoña/F.A.I-F.R.I
Autonomous Commando claimed responsibility in an online communiqué three
days later [http://hommodolars.org/web/spip.php?article4303](http://hommodolars.org/web/spip.php?article4303). It said it
wanted to “generate insecurity” against *La Tercera* and was targeting two
journalists, *Andrés López* and *Sebastián Labrín*, in particular.
Reporters Without Borders unreservedly condemns such acts of violence
accompanied by incitement to hatred and violence, and hopes there will soon
be results from the investigations into these incidents, which do not bode
well for the free circulation of ideas and opinions.