11 March 2015

IAPA outraged at murder of two journalists, wounding of another in Guatemala

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MIAMI, Florida (March 11, 2015)—Just days after winding up its membership meeting in Panama in which it denounced the murder of eight Latin American journalists in the last three months the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today condemned a new attack in Guatemala in which two reporters were killed and one other was seriously injured.
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MIAMI, Florida (March 11, 2015)—Just days after winding up its membership meeting in Panama in which it denounced the murder of eight Latin American journalists in the last three months the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today condemned a new attack in Guatemala in which two reporters were killed and one other was seriously injured.

IAPA President Gustavo Mohme expressed outrage at the seriousness of the attack and recalled that “we have been insisting that many journalists in the interior of their countries are carrying out their work under a mantle of lack of safety and protection, so we insist that the authorities investigate in-depth and immediately apply protective measures.”

Journalists Danilo López, 38, correspondent of the newspaper Prensa Libre, and Federico Salazar, 32, correspondent of radio station Radio Nuevo Mundo, were murdered in the city of Mazatenango, Suchitepéquez province, in the south of the country. Marvín Israel Túnchez, 28, host of the Canal 30 television newscasts, was seriously injured in the same attack.

The chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Claudio Paolillo, editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, said, “Frankly, the promises of those in charge of government to put an end to impunity seem to us to be increasingly useless and, at this stage, one could say that they sound even aggravating. It is as if they are laughing in our faces, while our press colleagues continue to die for exercising the human right to receive, gather and disseminate news and opinions.”

He recalled that at the IAPA membership meeting that ended on Monday the organization condemned the murder of eight journalists (two each in Colombia, Honduras and Mexico, one in Paraguay and one in Peru) but also denounced the high level of impunity noted in all the countries of the Americas. ”The lack of justice,” he declared, “prompts many journalists and media, particularly in inland areas, where they are less protected, to opt for self-censorship as a means of protection.”

Mohme and Paolillo expressed the IAPA’s solidarity with the journalists’ families and colleagues.

The crime was committed around 11:00 a.m. in the city’s central park opposite the building of the provincial government where a local governmental ceremony was being held. According to eye-witnesses two people riding a motorcycle approached the journalists and shot at them. Some hours later arrested was Sergio Waldemar Cardona Reyes, identified as one of the alleged attackers.

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.

          

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