MIAMI, Florida (June 29, 2018)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today expressed its concern and grief at the tragic attack suffered at the American newspaper Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland, in which five press workers lost their lives.
IAPA President Gustavo Mohme offered his condolences to the colleagues and families of the victims following the attack carried out yesterday by Jarrod W. Ramos. The attacker fired several shots in the newsroom, killing editors Rob Hiaasen (aged 59), Wendi Winters (65) and Gerald Fischman (61), reporter John McNamara (56) and advertising assistant Rebecca Smith (34). Another two persons were injured.
Ramos was arrested minutes after the incident. He was understood to have acted in a premeditated manner in reprisal for information published in 2011 in which he was implicated in a case of harassment of a woman on social media. He filed a libel suit in 2014 which was dismissed.
Mohme, president of the IAPA and editor of the Peruvian newspaper La República, declared, "Once again we are grieving and baffled by the seriousness of this massacre which puts the press of the United States in mourning." He added, "Today, when in Ecuador there are being buried three press workers murdered by FARC guerrillas while they were carrying out their journalistic work, we are devastated by this attack."
Roberto Rock, chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, said, "This massacre shows to us the importance of taking precautions and updating protocols of safety in the media, as these are produced not only due to terrorist motives, as in the French weekly Charlie Hebdo, or by organized crime in inland Mexico, but also by any criminal with a thirst for vengeance, as was now demonstrated."
Mohme and Rock added, "Regretfully journalists are always exposed to the risks of the profession and in certain cases coverage and publication of news can give rise to hostile reactions."
The Capital Gazette newspaper was founded in 1727 and in 2014 was acquired by The Baltimore Sun Media Group.
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 publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida.