Chile: RSF calls for exemplary investigation into Chilean photographer’s murder

The Chilean police investigating last week’s murder of the photographer Albertina Martínez Burgos must prioritize the hypothesis that it was linked to her work as a journalist, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) says.

Martínez’s body was found in her Santiago apartment on the night of 21 November. She had been attacked and her camera, laptop and data storage devices had been stolen during the attack. The police immediately concluded that she had been murdered.

Aged 38, Martínez worked as a lighting assistant at the TV channel Mega and as a freelance photographer, in recent weeks covering the current wave of protests and violence in Chile. According to several Chilean media outlets, she had been focusing on the crackdown on protesters by the police and army, as her latest Facebook posts suggest.

As many of the circumstance surrounding her death are unclear, those close to her have appealed to the media to be prudent in their coverage and to show respect for the family. They have also called on the investigators to consider all hypotheses.

The Chilean police must quickly identify the perpetrators and instigators of this shameful and deliberate killing and must pay the utmost attention to the possibility that this murder was linked to the victim’s work as a photographer,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin America desk.

The climate of hatred stirred up against the press and the police violence that has been seen in recent weeks in Chile are extremely disturbing and must be taken seriously by President Piñera and his government.”

Ever since the government announced a Santiago subway fare increase in mid-October, Chile has been shaken by a wave of protests and violence that is without precedent since the end of the dictatorship in 1990. In this very tense climate, RSF has registered many targeted attacks against reporters covering the protests and crisis for both the Chilean and international media, and has condemned these attacks.

Chile is ranked 46th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.

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Updated on 26.11.2019