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Dominican news presenter murdered during broadcast

Aerial view of San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic
Aerial view of San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic

Flickr/Albert5000

This statement was originally published on rsf.org on 15 February 2017.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the fatal shooting of a radio news presenter and his producer in mid-broadcast yesterday in the Dominican Republic and calls on the Dominican authorities to identify those responsible for this shocking double murder without delay.

Presenter Luis Manuel Medina Pérez and producer Leónidas Antonio Evangelista Martínez were gunned down at around 10 a.m. by a man who had walked into the studios of Radio 103.5 FM, located inside a shopping mall in the southeastern city of San Pedro de Macorís.

The gunman also shot the radio station's secretary Dayana García, who was gravely injured.

When the shooting took place, Medina and Martínez were reaching the end of Milenio Caliente, an interactive news programme broadcast on FM and on the Internet in which Medina often criticized the local authorities. Medina also covered the Estrellas Orientales, a local baseball team, for the station.

"We firmly condemn this appalling double murder and we urge the Dominican authorities to quickly identify both the perpetrator and the person or persons who instigated it," said Emmanuel Colombié, the head of RSF's Latin America desk.

"Attacking journalists in the course of their work constitutes a frontal assault on the entire media profession and free speech. RSF offers its full support for the Dominican Republic's journalists and the families of the victims."

The local police today said they have identified a man as part of their investigation but are not as yet working on any particular hypothesis. Colleagues of Medina and Martínez said the two journalists had not mentioned any recent problem and had not reported receiving any specific threat.

Their tragic deaths came the day after World Radio Day, for which RSF had issued a press release spotlighting both the importance and vulnerability of community radio stations in Latin America.

The Dominican Republic is ranked 62nd out of 180 countries in RSF's 2016 World Press Freedom Index.

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