MIAMI, Florida (May 8, 2013)—The murder of sports reporter Johnny González in Venezuela today brought a strong rebuke from the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), which called on the authorities to carry out an urgent investigation so as to learn the motives and determine who was responsible.
González, 33, covered sports news for the newspaper Líder, published by the Caracas-based editorial company Cadena Capriles. At 1:55 a.m. on Friday (May 3) he was on his way to work when he was intercepted by men on a motorcycle and in a car who appeared to be intending to rob him of his vehicle. According to local media González resisted and the assailants shot him three times.
The chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Claudio Paolillo, offered sympathy to Gonzalez’ family and colleagues and urged the local authorities “to carry out an immediate investigation to learn the reasons for the murder and prevent those guilty of it from going unpunished.”
Paolillo, editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, cited the IAPA-inspired Declaration of Chapultepec, whose Principle 4 states, “Freedom of expression and of the press are severely limited by murder, terrorism, kidnapping, intimidation, the unjust imprisonment of journalists, the destruction of facilities, violence of any kind and impunity for perpetrators. Such acts must be investigated promptly and punished harshly.”
On April 12 also murdered in Venezuela was 26-year-old reporter Doris Vilora Palomares. It is not known if her death was connected to her work as a journalist.
The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 print publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida. For more information please go to http://www.sipiapa.org.