After a review of Guatemala by the Human Rights Committee, Panorama spoke with representatives of IFEX and Cerigua to assess this State’s appearance before the UN body.
Local officials and mining company employees had harassed journalist Jerson Xitumul Morales since May for his coverage of a fishermen guild’s protests against a mining company. The fishermen blame the company for environmental damage around the area’s Lake Izabal.
IFEX-ALC condemns alarming levels of government corruption, censorship and inaction amidst journalist killings in Guatemala.
With 19 deaths and over 250 attacks on journalists since 2013, press associations have asked the IACHR to recommend Guatemala create a Program for the Protection of Journalists as soon as possible.
As a result of increases in the number of journalist assassinations, the attorney general is analysing the possibility of converting the Unit for Crimes against Journalists into a specialised prosecutor’s office or agency.
Governmental Decree 05-2016, made public yesterday, has the objective of minimizing the effects of strong rainfalls and protecting the lives of Guatemalans, however, it also exceeds the authority of the government in undermining three constitutional rights.
Felipe David Munguía Jiménez, a community leader and camera operator for Canal 21 television, was fatally shot in Jalapa, Guatemala on the afternoon of 4 September, minutes after leaving a community meeting.
The daughter of a veteran Guatemalan radio journalist gunned down on June 25 by unidentified attackers was herself fatally shot on Tuesday, prompting IPI to call on authorities to do more to protect journalists and bring their killers to justice.
IFEX-ALC is deeply concerned with the increase in acts of violence against journalists in Guatemala. Since the new government of President Jimmy Morales began its mandate in January 2016, five journalists have been killed.
“The murder of Álvaro Alfredo Aceituno López is likely to further chill the climate for freedom of the press in Guatemala, where lawlessness and impunity already perpetuate a cycle of violence and intimidation,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas.
The Inter American Press Association condemns the theft of 26 computers from the Guatemalan magazine Crónica and suspects it may have been a strategy to silence investigations conducted by the magazine.
In the midst of few guarantees for the safety of journalists in Guatemala, authorities are endorsing the creation of a body that may further increase the vulnerability of freedom of the press.
Regarded as “pirates” by the authorities and telecommunication networks, community radio stations are very vulnerable and are permanently exposed to the possibility of closure or seizure of their equipment.
Danilo López, Federico Salazar and Guido Armando Giovanni Villatoro were murdered in Suchitepéquez, Guatemala. Risks faced by the press are expected to worsen in lead up to elections.