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RADIO REPORTER MURDERED

A young radio announcer was found dead in Guatemala last week, only two months after he started working at a local station, reports the Centre of Informative Reports on Guatemala (Centro de Reportes Informativos sobre Guatemala, CERIGUA).

The body of Miguel Ángel Amaya Pérez, 23, a recently-hired announcer for Sabana radio station, was found in Santa Elena, Petén, on 10 December. He was last seen the day before, after driving his wife to a neighbouring town.

Relatives say robbery was not the motive for Amaya Pérez's murder, as neither his personal belongings nor his motorcycle were stolen.

According to local news reports, the department of Péten, as well as other northeastern areas of the country, is a drug trafficking hub, largely under the control of organised crime groups.

"'Parallel powers' have become a new threat against journalists," says CERIGUA's director, Ileana Alamilla. "There is no shield to protect us from their criminal power."

ARTICLE 19 - Mexico says it is fundamental that Guatemalan, regional and international civil society unite and take concrete action against impunity in attacks on journalists - one of the greatest threats to free expression in Central America.

CERIGUA is asking that you send appeals to the authorities, asking them to investigate the crime and punish the perpetrators. Details are available here: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/88596

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), 64 journalists were killed in direct connection with their work in 2007, making it the deadliest year for the press in more than a decade.

Visit these links:
- ARTICLE 19: http://www.cerigua.org/portal/Article12521.html
- CPJ, "Journalist Deaths Hit Decade Peak": http://www.cpj.org/Briefings/2007/killed_07/killed_07.html
(18 December 2007)

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