Reporters Without Borders and the CERIGUA Journalists’ Observatory condemn journalist Jaime Napoleón Jarquín Duarte’s murder on 20 March in Ciudad Pedro de Alvarado, in the southeastern department of Jutiapa.
The two partner organizations urge the authorities to carry out a rapid investigation in order to identify those responsible – both the perpetrators and the instigators – and bring them to justice.
Jarquín, 63, was playing cards on the street with three friends when gunmen got out of a farm vehicle and opened fire, killing the journalist and injuring two of his companions.
Jarquín was a retired schoolteacher who had been writing for the Nuestro Diario newspaper for the past three years. A native of the neighbouring department of Chiquimula, Jarquín had lived for several years in Jutiapa department, where he was known both for his academic work and his journalism. His reporting has caused him a few minor problems
A founder member of the Guatemala Cooperative of Departmental Journalists (COOPEDEGUA), Jarquín had advised several candidates during their successful bids to be elected as municipal councillors.
Osmín Castro, a fellow journalist and close friend, said Jarquín had created a committee to campaign for Ciudad Pedro de Alvarado to break away from the municipality of Moyuta and become a municipality in its own right, and had intended to pursue this campaign in 2013.
At no time had Jarquín reporting receiving threats or having any serious problem in connection with his journalistic work, Castro added. The police have so far not said whether they have any theory about the murder motive.
Jarquín is the first journalist to be murdered in Guatemala since Otto Pérez Molina became president in January 2012.
Guatemala is ranked 95th out of 179 countries in the latest Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.
Photo: Prensa Libre