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Suchitepéquez-based radio journalist receives death threats, dismissed from television programme following pressure from municipality

(CERIGUA/IFEX) - On 18 and 19 July 2008, Óscar Perdomo, a correspondent for Emisoras Unidas radio station in the department of Suchitepéquez, 158 kilometres from Guatemala City, the capital, received three anonymous messages, warning him that he would be killed if he did not stop reporting on the Mazatenango municipal administration.

Perdomo told CERIGUA that he believes that mayor Manuel de Jesús Delgado and municipal councillor César Augusto Reyes are behind the threats. The journalist noted that the two men were apparently behind his dismissal from the "Mazatenango 2000" programme, which is broadcast on television by the Cable San Andrés Channel 3 station and on radio by Emisoras Unidas.

According to Francisco García, a human rights official who witnessed the journalist's dismissal, the manager of Cable San Andrés, Álvaro Martínez, told Perdomo that he had been forced to make this decision by the municipality. Apparently, the mayor told the cable television company that its licence would be renewed only if Perdomo were fired.

Journalists working in the interior are vulnerable to attacks, have fewer employment opportunities and face more risks than their colleagues who are based in the capital.

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