Two reporters shot dead, third injured in Guatemala

March 11, 2015

GUATEMALA CITYGuatemala — Gunmen shot dead two Guatemalan reporters and injured a third Tuesday in the southern city of Mazatenango.

Witnesses said men on motorbikes killed Danilo López, a reporter at Prensa Libre, and Nuevo Mundo Radio’s Federico Salazar in the city 170 kilometers (105 miles) south of the capital. They also wounded reporter Marvin Tunches, local media said.

López had been receiving threats after he reported on corruption in the area, according to Prensa Libre’s chairman Miguel Ángel Méndez.

Marvin Robledo, the director of Nuevo Mundo, said the station was in shock and urged authorities to bring the killers to justice.

Guatemala’s media do their work against the challenging backdrop of worsening violent crime, much of it related to clashing rival drug organizations.

Dozens of Guatemalan journalists marched in the capital and other cities around the country on Wednesday to denounce the killings. Some 50 journalists protested in front of the Interior Ministry to demand that authorities bring those responsible for the crime to justice and provide protection for reporters.

International organizations, including the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, also condemned the killings on Wednesday.

Guatemalan police said they captured one of the suspects accused of carrying out the armed attack on the reporters.

Interior Minister Mauricio López told journalists that authorities were searching the homes of the mayors of Mazatenango and San Miguel Panán, and the former mayor of Santo Domingo as part of the investigation.

Nobel Peace Prize winner and indigenous leader Rigoberta Menchú also condemned the attack against the journalists. She said Guatemala “is bleeding with violence, most of it a consequence of corruption, authoritarianism, cronyism, nopotism and injustice.”

The Guatemalan Prosecutor’s Office said it recieved 106 reports of assaults against journalists last year. More than two-thirds of them named public officials as the perpetrators.

In the past ten years, 26 journalists have been killed in Guatemala, 4 of them in 2013, according to the Guatemalan news agency Cerigua.

An average of 16 people are murdered in Guatemala every day, according to officials.

 

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