Reporters Without Borders and the CERIGUA Journalists Observatory condemn regional TV journalist Carlos Alberto Orellana Chávez’s murder yesterday fifty kilometers away from Mazatenango, capital of the southwestern province of Suchitepéquez.
“Orellana is the fourth journalist to be slain in the past five months in Guatemala,” Reporters Without Borders said. “This unprecedented wave of violence against media personnel is very disturbing.
“We urge the authorities to take whatever measures are necessary to shed light on these four murders. Those investigating each case should not rule out the possibility that the motive was linked to the victim’s work as a journalist.”
Orellana was found shot dead in the middle of a road on the route to his workplace. His car and his wallet containing his ID papers and money were found by the police. It seems that he may have been kidnapped before being killed.
Orellana’s murder came just a week after fellow journalist Fredy Rodas was seriously injured in a shooting attack in Mazatenango. His condition is now stable and the police say they have arrested his suspected assailant.
Aged 66, Orellana hosted a news show on Optimo 23, a cable TV station. He used to be the manager of Radio Victoria “La Venadita,” a position he held for 25 years, and was Mazatenango’s mayor from 2000 to 2004.
His murder follows those of Jaime Napoleón Jarquín Duarte, 63, and Luis Alberto Lemus Ruano in Jutiapa in March and April, and Luis de Jesús Lima, 68, in Zacapa department on 7 August. As well as being journalists, all of the victims were also active in their unions and in municipal politics.
As none of the investigations into these murders has so far established the motive, Reporters Without Borders is surprised by interior minister Mauricio López Bonilla’s claim that all the recent violence against journalists was of a personal nature.
Reporters Without Borders therefore reiterates its call for investigators to actively consider the possibility of a link to the victim’s work.
Photo : El País
Slideshow : ipys.org