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Demonstrators threaten to lynch two journalists in Maimón; several others threatened, attacked elsewhere

(RSF/IFEX) - RSF is alarmed at the threats and physical attacks against two journalists by demonstrators on 22 June 2007 in Maimón, in the central province of Monseñor Nouel, saying it is astonished by the government's failure to react to an increase in these kinds of incidents since the beginning of 2007 and to the resulting impact on press freedom.

"The National Union of Press Workers (SNTP) and Reporters Without Borders have registered more than 25 cases of threats of violence against journalists or physical attacks on news organisations since the start of the year, in which those responsible are often policemen, military personnel or municipal employees," the organisation said.

"Journalists investigating cases of corruption automatically become targets," RSF added. "The interior and justice ministries should lose no time in taking stock of the situation and in appointing the appropriate judicial and administrative investigations."

In the Maimón incident, Marino Baéz, a correspondent for the privately-owned daily "Listín Diario", and Braddy Abréu, a television producer with privately-owned Yuna Visión station, were attacked and threatened with lynching by members of two local organisations, Bloque de la Dignidad and Alianza de Lucha y Desarrollo (ALUD), during a demonstration they had organised to demand fairer distribution of water. Three of their leaders, Rafael Jiménez, Pablo Abad and Silvestre Santamaría, prevented the journalists from filming the march and threatened to destroy their vehicle.

The aggressiveness shown towards the two journalists recalls the case of television and radio producer Manuel Vega in the eastern province of Hato Mayor, who was threatened last January with being "burned alive" by drug traffickers (see IFEX alert of 24 January 2007). Two other journalists based in the same region, Manuel Carrasco and Yoel de los Santos, were the targets of similar warnings and attacks around the same time.

Television reporter Ceynet Sánchez and cameraman Richard de la Cruz of privately-owned Canal 37 station and a "Listín Diario" photographer were roughed up by demonstrators protesting against public transport fare increases near the University of Santo Domingo in May. In the northern city of Puerto Plata, a tourism police officer attacked a television crew and damaged some of its material.

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