14 July 2000


News agency receives threats

Incident details

Estuardo Pinto, Ileanna Alamilla, Sergio Méndez

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(RSF/IFEX) - In a letter to Minister of the Interior Guilliermo Ruiz, RSF expressed its "concern over the threats directed against the news agency Centre of Informative Reports on Guatemala (Centro de Reportes Informativos sobre Guatemala, Cerigua)". The organisation asked the minister "to open an investigation so that those behind the threats can be identified". Robert Ménard, RSF's secretary-general, took advantage of the opportunity to remind the minister that at least six journalists have been threatened in Guatemala in the last two months, and asked Ruiz "to ensure that journalists can safely carry out their profession."

According to the information collected by RSF, on 10 July 2000, a telephone call was received at the offices of the Cerigua agency, warning the agency's director, Ileana Alamilla, to "watch herself." On 23 June, the agency received another threatening telephone call, during which they were told: "We already know where you are and we are going to kill you." The Cerigua agency was founded in 1983 and was linked to the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity (Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional de Guatemala, UNRG) guerilla movement, which has now been converted into a political party.

RSF noted that in May, four journalists of the "El Periodico" daily's editing staff, as well as Sergio Méndez, of the programme Guatemala Flash, broadcast on the Qué buena radio station, and Estuardo Pinto, of the "Nuestro Diario" daily, were followed on the street or otherwise threatened (see IFEX alerts of 30, 24 and 23 May 2000).


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