Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chronicle of a death foretold

A recently released Amnesty International report claimed that Latin America is one of the most dangerous regions for journalists. Indeed several incidents over the past month appear to strengthen the human rights group’s conclusion:
  • Mexico joined Cuba, Venezuela, and Honduras as the only Latin American nations without a "free press" according to Freedom House.
  • Honduran reporter Francisco Medina became the eleventh journalist killed in that country over the past eighteen months.
  • Venezuelan journalist and opposition political activist Wilfred Ivan Ojeda Peralta was killed and police found his body with signs of torture.
  • A trio of suspected gang members shot and murdered Salvadoran TV cameraman Alfredo Hurtado as he rode a bus to work.
Peru’s run for the presidency is a tight and hard-fought affair between leftist Ollanta Humala and conservative Keiko Fujimori. While political tensions increase so have the risks and threats against the local press. The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas highlighted several examples of aggression against journalists. Perhaps the most hair-raising and worst example can be seen in the video below when funeral wreaths where sent to the offices of the La Primera newspaper:

Both Humala and Fujimori pledged to protect press freedoms if elected to Peru’s highest public office. But if the threats against journalists are any indication those promises will most likely be in vain.

Video Source – La Republica via YouTube
Online Sources- CNN, International Press Institute, Canadian Press, CBS News,, The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, Committee to Protect Journalists

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