10 November 2016

IAPA condemns murder of journalist in Guatemala, calls to prevent lack of punishment copy

Hamilton Hernández and his wife were killed on November 5 in the province of Quetzaltenango.

VIAPA condemns murder of journalist in Guatemala, calls for immediate action to prevent lack of punishment

MIAMI, Florida (November 10, 2016)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today condemned the murder of journalist Hamilton Hernández Vásquez and his wife in Guatemala and called on the authorities to investigate swiftly so as to identify those responsible and learn the motive for the crime, and urged them the ensure the safety of other members of the press.

Hernández Vásquez, 28, had worked in the past eight years on the program "Punto Rojo" (Red Point) broadcast on Channel 5 of the local cable television system, and his wife, Hermelinda González Lucas, was a primary school teacher. According to local media the two were traveling on the evening of November 5 on a motorcycle to their home, located in the western state of Quetzaltenango, when they were shot.

Their bodies, found early the next day by local residents walking in the neighborhood, each showed a bullet wound to the head. Their belongings were not found. The Quetzaltenango area has become one of the country's most violent in which to work as a journalist.

The chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Roberto Rock, offered his condolences to the victim's family members and colleagues and added, "We call on the government of Guatemala to deal urgently with this case.:"

Rock, of La Silla Rota, Mexico City, Mexico, declared that "the best way of combating impunity in crimes against journalists is accurate, in-depth investigation that enables the instigators and perpetrators to be identified and brought to justice."

The IAPA, Rock added, also joins the Association of Journalists of Guatemala (APG), the Guatemalan Journalism Chamber (CGP) and other local press groups in urging the government that there be put underway an effective program of protection of journalists so as to confront the violence that is facing the work of members of the press in the Central American country.

The IAPA <http://www.sipiapa.org/> (http://www.sipiapa.org/contenidos/home.html <http://www.sipiapa.org/contenidos/home.html> ) 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.