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Guatevisión denounces harassment of correspondents by government officials

(CERIGUA/IFEX) - The assistant director of Guatevisión's news programme, Erick Salazar, has reported that two of the television station's correspondents have been subjected to pressure tactics and threatened by members of the ruling party. Salazar also noted his concern over the press freedom situation in the country as it heads towards an election year and actions against journalists are on the rise.

In the department of Chimaltenango, journalist Vinicio Jiménez was accused by members of the ruling Unity of Hope (Unidad Nacional de la Esperanza, UNE) party of having asked for money from Governor Erick de León in exchange for refraining from publishing unfavourable information about his administration. There have been indications that the accusations originated from Congressman Roberto Kestler, who controls many of the government bodies in the department.

Jiménez had publicised complaints from local mayors who are not members of the ruling party about payments that benefited prominent UNE officials, particularly Kestler. After publicising the complaints, Jiménez received an e-mail message that said, "I congratulate you on the information you put out about the mayors (we are honest). Hopefully this makes you a better journalist."

In addition, Jiménez has been photographed while covering stories and unidentified individuals have tried to take the licence plates off his motorcycle. The journalist has said he fears for this life.

In the department of Quiché, journalist Héctor Cordero was also threatened by ruling party supporters after publicising information about cases of nepotism involving UNE Congressman Lester Reyna.

Salazar contacted CERIGUA to report on these incidents and called on the government officials to stop harassing Guatevisión correspondents and to conduct an investigation into the actions against Cordero and Jiménez.


RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Send appeals to the authorities:
- calling on the them to ensure respect for freedom of expression and access to public information and officials, in line with national regulations and international agreements to which Guatemala is a party


APPEALS TO:

Ruth del Valle
Comisionada Presidencial de los Derechos Humanos
(Presidential Human Rights Commissioner)
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
Ministerio Público
(Office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Journalists and Labour Union Members)
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 UN 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]

Raúl Velásquez
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]

Director 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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