Reporters Without Borders called today for a response from the government after the increased threat of violence to Dominican journalists was confirmed by a shooting attack on the home of radio host Héctor Abreu in the southwestern town of Tamayo on 6 July and threatening phone calls to TV producer Juan Cadena in the capital the same day.
“Two weeks after two reporters were attacked and threatened with lynching while covering a demonstration, the attack on Abreu and the threats to Cadena confirm the deterioration in press freedom in the Dominican Republic,” Reporters Without Borders said.
“We fear for the safety of Abreu and Cadena and we are astonished that the authorities are taking so long to come up with an appropriate response to these serious, recurring events,” the organisation added. “An initiative is needed at the ministerial level to protect journalists and combat impunity.”
A presenter on Radio Azua and a correspondent for Radio Enriquillo, Abreu said he did not know why shots were fired at his house in the early hours of 6 July - leaving impact marks - while he and his family were asleep inside. But he acknowledged that he had reported on several crimes in the region where he works.
Cadena, the producer of a daily programme on the Santo Domingo-based TV station Sport Visión, said he was threatened at least four times by phone. An anonymous caller told him he would be executed if he did not stop saying “nonsense” on his programme. Cadena acknowledged commenting on the general strike which several working-class organisations have called for today.
Attacks on the press have become more frequent and violent in the Dominican Republic since the start of the year. The National Union of Press Workers (SNTP) and Reporter Without Borders have registered more than 30 cases since 1 January.