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Guatemala7 April 2009

Two young men held for TV journalist’s murder

Rolfi Antonio López, 20, and Estuardo Pirir, 19, are being held as suspects in the 1 April murder of Rolando Santis, a journalist employed by privately-owned TV station Telecentro. The two young men were arrested on 3 April, the day of his funeral, in a vehicle containing drugs and firearms. Their involvement in the Santis murder has yet to be established. Reporters Without Borders hopes for quick results in the investigation.

2.04.09 - TV reporter shot dead in Guatemala City, cameraman badly injured

Reporters Without Borders is dismayed by the death of TV reporter Rolando Santis in a shooting attack yesterday in Guatemala City, in which his cameraman, Juan Antonio de León Villatoro, was seriously injured. Santis, 42, and De León, 28, worked for privately-owned TV station Telecentro.

They were driving back to the station in a Telecentro vehicle after covering a bus driver’s murder for the programme “Telecentro 13” when they came under fire from two men on a motorcycle. Witnesses said seven shots were fired of which at least four hit Santis. De León, who was in the passenger seat, was hit in the neck and chest.

The two assailants drove away immediately after the attack. De León was taken to a hospital where doctors described his condition as serious.

“Guatemala’s alarming level of violent crime has cost a journalist his life while he was out covering the violence,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The motive has not yet been established, but we hope this murder will not go unpunished. Other attacks will follow if it is not solved. The presence of organised crime does not diminish the need for a proper public security policy. We offer our condolences to Santis’ colleagues and we wish De León a speedy recovery.”

Although the motive is unknown, interior minister Salvador Gándara referred during a news conference to “the method used by organised crime to create confrontation between the government and the press.” The International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) was been put in charge of the investigation.

In this country
24 October - Guatemala
Graphic artist on daily El Periódico killed by crossbow
13 October - Guatemala
Journalist officially under protection threatened by armed men near his home
25 August - Guatemala
Editor of daily El Periódico abducted and drugged and a journalist assaulted within 24 hours
13 May - Guatemala
Journalist on daily Prensa Libre shot dead at his home
25 January - Guatemala
Mystery death of journalist found dead in hotel

in the annual report
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