News

November 7, 2017

Venezuela: Photojournalist threatened, tortured, then dumped at roadside

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Venezuelan authorities to guarantee the safety of Jesús Medina, a photojournalist who was found beaten and half naked beside a motorway yesterday, and to quickly identify those who abducted and held him for two days.

Medina, who works for the opposition news website Dólar Today, has reported on social networks that he was “tortured and threatened with death” while held but the identity of those who abducted him on 4 November is still unknown.


The marks of violence were visible on his body when he was discovered at the side of a motorway near Caracas.


On 1 November, he had reported receiving death threats on social networks in response to his photoreportage, published the day before in Dólar Today, on the conditions in Tocorón prison, located 130 km west of Caracas and one of the country’s most dangerous detention centres.


Shortly before he was reported missing, one of his colleagues received a message from him saying: “They have taken me, urgent.”


We call on the authorities to do whatever is necessary to identify those responsible for kidnapping Jesús Medina and to guarantee this journalist’s safety,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin American desk. “The authorities must take threats against journalists seriously and must ensure that preventive protection measures are taken to avoid any recurrence of this kind of situation.


Medina went with Italian journalist Roberto Di Matteo and Swiss journalist Filippo Rossi to Tocorón prison on 6 October and asked permission to take photographs inside the prison. They were subsequently arrested, interrogated and held for several hours, and their material was confiscated.


Venezuela is ranked 137th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index.