Small town reporter gunned down in southeastern Guatemala
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls for a thorough investigation into last week’s murder of a local journalist in a small town in southeastern Guatemala, and urges investigators not to neglect the possibility of a link to his journalism.
Pedro Alfonso Guadrón Hernández, 30, was shot by gunmen near his home in Concepción Las Minas, a small town in the southeastern department of Chiquimula, on the night of 30 July and died of his injuries after being taken to a nearby hospital.
He was the founder of a Facebook page called Concepción Las Minas mi Tierra in which he covered local news including anti-government protests, local corruption, drug trafficking and traffic accidents. The prosecutor’s office said it was investigating his murder.
According to the Guatemalan Journalists’ Association (APG), Guadrón had reported receiving death threats to the police. An investigation is under way to determine whether the threats were related to his journalistic activities.
“Local journalists play an essential role in provincial regions, where local news is often eclipsed by the national media, but unfortunately these journalists are often very vulnerable to reprisals,” said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF’s Latin America bureau. “We urge the authorities to conduct an exhaustive investigation into Pedro Guadrón’s murder and to neglect no possibilities, including the possibility that it was linked to his reporting.”
Guadrón is the first journalist to be murdered in Guatemala since February 2018, when two journalists, Laurent Castillo and Luis Alfredo de León, were found murdered in the southwestern department of Suchitepéquez.
Guatemala is riddled by organised crime and corruption, while President Alejandro Giammatte has subjected the media to very aggressive rhetoric, false accusations, verbal attacks and orchestrated public humiliations ever since taking office in January 2020. Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets on 29 July to demand his resignation.
Guatemala is ranked 116th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2021 World Press Freedom Index.