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Bodyguard for TV channel owner shot on the job in Guatemala

Vea Canal/facebook

Karina Rottman, presenter and owner of cable TV station Vea Canal, reported threats against her and the station after a member of her security team was killed near her home in the capital city on 19 October 2013.

Rottman said that on the afternoon of the 19th her bodyguard, Viltor García, finished his shift and was going to take a rest, when he was shot by people riding near Rottman's home in a black Mitsubishi vehicle with tinted windows.

Firefighters took García to the San Juan de Dios General Hospital, but he died around 7:00p.m. Rottman had spoken to García on the phone when he was taken to the hospital.

The TV station has expressed its indignation over the attack and called on the authorities to investigate. The outlet called on the Ministry of the Interior and the Public Prosecutor to undertake a serious investigation to find those responsible. They also asked that no line of investigation be discounted, especially if they end up involving officials or those in power.

The government must afford constitutional guarantees and respect for freedom of thought for collaborators, presenters, analysts and guests of Vea Canal so that they can do their work without being coerced, controlled, persecuted, or, in extreme cases, killed for the opinions they express or for taking an editorial line characterised by telling the truth and defending the Guatemalan people.

Rottman said that this is the second attack on her bodyguards. Two weeks ago during a meeting with people from the Public Prosecutor's office, two people physically attacked members of her security team.

Otto Rottman, Vea Canal's co-owner and Karina's husband, said that many cable companies had blocked broadcasts from their station, which he thinks is related to their critical comments about neoliberalism and traditional power blocks.

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