World Bulletin / News Desk
Two Guatemalan journalists were murdered in broad daylight Tuesday in the central plaza of Mazatenango, in southwestern Guatemala.
Prensa Libre newspaper correspondent Danilo López and Federico Salazar of Radio Nuevo Mundo both died from gunshot wounds at the scene. A third journalist, Marvin Tunchez, was taken to the hospital with a gunshot wound to the arm and a graze wound to the chest.
Two attackers fled the scene on a motorcycle, according to witnesses. Police arrested Sergio Valdemar Cardona Reyes as a suspect in the case.
López and Salazar both covered news in the department of Suchitepéquez for their respective national media outlets. López had previously been subject to threats related to his reporting.
In June 2013, López was threatened by José Linares Rojas, the mayor of San Lorenzo, another municipality in the department of Suchitepéquez, according to the Center for Informative Reports about Guatemala, Cerigua. The Center operates an observatory to monitor, analyze and address threats to journalists and freedom of expression in the country.
Linares Rojas assaulted López and told him he had the necessary money and power to take action against him. López had reported on community leaders and residents presenting a complaint regarding alleged mismanagement of municipal funds. Linares also threatened two other journalists in the first half of 2013 and sent staff to photograph journalists covering an audit, reported Cerigua.
López worked for Prensa Libre for eight years, covering politics, sports and other news. Prensa Libre director Miguel Ángel Méndez Zetina condemned the murder, describing López as an exceptional, brave and ethical journalist.
“We’re alerting the international community that it’s time that as Guatemalans we be more concerned about the terrible climate of insecurity and ungovernability that we are experiencing in this country,” said Méndez Zetina.
Last Thursday, Cerigua Journalists Observatory director Ileana Alamilla denounced ongoing threats, intimidation and other attacks on journalists.
There were 54 attacks on freedom of expression in 2014 and government officials and public security forces were among the primary culprits, according to the Observatory’s annual report.
Tuesday’s attack wasn’t the first time Mazatenango has been the site of violence against journalists. Mazatenango journalist Carlos Humberto Orellana was murdered in August 2013. Last Feburary, two men on a motorcycle opened fire on the vehicle of local journalist Nery Morales, who survived the attack.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 11 Mart 2015, 10:30