13 May 2008

Alert

"Prensa Libre" newspaper journalist murdered in Coatepeque following threats


Incident details

Jorge Mérida Pérez

journalist(s)

This is available in:

English Español
(CPJ/IFEX) - The following is a 12 May 2008 CPJ press release:

GUATEMALA: CPJ condemns murder of Guatemalan journalist

New York, May 12, 2008 - The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the murder of Jorge Mérida Pérez, a correspondent in Quetzaltenango province for the national Guatemalan daily Prensa Libre. Mérida was shot to death in his home on Saturday afternoon. CPJ calls on the Guatemalan authorities to begin an immediate, thorough investigation into this brutal killing.

While a motive has yet to be confirmed, early indications are that the killing may have been linked to Mérida's journalism.

At 4 p.m. on Saturday, at least one unidentified individual stormed into the journalist's home in Coatepeque, 130 miles (210 kilometers) southwest of Guatemala City, according to press reports and CPJ interviews. Mérida, 40, who was working at his computer at the time of the attack, was shot four times in the head, Prensa Libre reported. His 14-year-old son was in the house but was not injured.

"It is sickening that a journalist can be killed in this matter," said Carlos Lauría, CPJ's senior Americas program coordinator. "The gunman clearly had no fear; responsibility falls on the Guatemalan government to solve this crime and produce assurances that journalists cannot be murdered with impunity."

According to Miguel Ángel Méndez, Prensa Libre's deputy director, the journalist had reported recently on local drug trafficking and government corruption.

In the weeks prior to his death, Mérida told colleagues and family members that he had received multiple threats, Méndez told CPJ. The journalist did not seem overly concerned with the threats and did not give any more details, according to Méndez. Brenda Dery Muñoz, a local prosecutor for crimes related to drug trafficking, told CPJ that on at least one occasion Mérida and other reporters were threatened after covering a recent police seizure of 440 lbs. (200 kilograms) of cocaine.

According to Méndez, national authorities, who are in charge of the investigation, are focusing on Mérida's work as the main motive behind his killing. Rosa Salazar Marroquín, the spokeswoman for the office of the special prosecutor for crimes against journalists and union members, told CPJ that the prosecutor is investigating links between Mérida's death and his journalism.

CPJ is a New York-based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit http://www.cpj.org


Source

Committee to Protect Journalists
330 7th Ave., 11th Floor
New York, NY 10001
USA
info (@) cpj.org
Fax:+1 212 465 9568
Guatemala
 
More from Guatemala
  • Alternative Report on the Situation of Freedom of the Press and Violence against Journalists in Guatemala

    In view of the examination of Guatemala before the Human Rights Committee in March 2018, the Centre for Informative Reports on Guatemala (CERIGUA), with the support of IFEX and the International Network for Human Rights (RIDH), produced an alternative report on the aforementioned issues covering the time- period between 2012 and February 2018, the month in which this report was completed.

  • Freedom of the Press 2016: Guatemala

    A major corruption inquiry, aided by the work of local investigative journalists, led to the arrests and resignations of dozens of prominent officials during the year.

  • Freedom of the Press 2015: Guatemala

    Ranked 133rd in annual global media freedom report