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Journalist threatened; another assaulted by leaders of teachers' union

(CERIGUA/IFEX) - On 8 May 2009, José Fredy López, CERIGUA's correspondent in the department of Izabal, was threatened by the president of the Andes Development Association, which is based in the municipality of Los Amates. López was told to refrain from publishing information about a conflict over land involving peasant farmers in the area.

The reporter, who works for the local "El Poder de la Noticia" newspaper, in the municipality of Puerto Barrios, Izabal, received a telephone call from the president of the association, Juan Ángel Colindres. Colindres warned López that he should not meddle with members of the association.

López said he suspects that Colindres listened in on a telephone interview that he conducted with some of the farmers who had contacted him when the information on the land conflict was about to be published.

According to López, the members of the association are armed and were responsible for injuring two women with firearms during a land inspection.

In a separate incident, on 21 May, teachers who were participating in a meeting of the National Teacher's Assembly (Asamblea Nacional del Magisterio, ANM) and the Ministry of Education (Ministerio de Educación, Mineduc) in Guatemala City assaulted a photojournalist for the daily "Prensa Libre". The incident took place after security personnel removed photographers from the meeting on the request of Joviel Acevedo, the head of the teachers' group.

After the meeting ended, teachers who were accompanying Acevedo cornered the photographer and verbally assaulted him. According to "Prensa Libre", Acevedo was upset over the fact that the daily had, a few days earlier, published an article in which it was noted that during the civil war in Guatemala he had been affiliated with the Guerilla Army of the Poor (Ejercito Guerrillero de los Pobres, EGP). Acevedo himself had previously given this information to a local media outlet.

CERIGUA's Journalists' Observatory has documented more than a dozen cases of attacks on the press so far in 2009, both in the capital and in other regions of the country.


RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Send appeals to authorities:
- calling on them, especially those responsibility for public security, to investigate these actions which threaten freedom of expression and put the journalists at risk


APPEALS TO:

Ruth del Valle
Comisionada Presidencial de los Derechos Humanos
(Presidential High Commissioner for Human Rights)
2a. Avenida 10-50, zona 9
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Fax: +502 2334 0119

Sergio Morales Alvarado
Procurador de los Derechos Humanos
(Human Rights Ombudsman)
12 Avenida 12-72, zona 1
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Fax: +502 2424 1717
Correo electrónico: [email protected]

Fiscalía Especial de Delitos contra Periodistas y Sindicalistas
(Office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Journalists and Trade Unionists)
Ministerio Público
7a. Avenida 11-20, zona 1, segundo nivel
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Fax: +502 2220 6873

Oficina del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas Sobre Derechos Humanos para Guatemala
(Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Guatemala)
13 calle 3-40, zona 10, Edifico Atlantils, oficina 803
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Fax: +502 2382 3410
Correo electrónico: [email protected]

Salvador Gándara
Ministro de Gobernación
(Interior Minister)
6a. Avenida 4-64, zona 1
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Fax: +502 2362 0237 / 2339 4474
Correo electrónico: [email protected]

Marlene Blanco Lapola
Directora de la Policía Nacional Civil
(Director, National Police)
Dirección General de la Policía Nacional Civil
6a. Avenida 13-71, zona 1
Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Fax: +502 2238 1474

Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

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