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Guatemalan editor gets death threats just before the Day of the Journalist

César Pérez Méndez, the managing editor of the elQuetzalteco daily, has reported receiving death threats in which he was warned to stop publishing information about “things that have nothing to do with him”. The threats against him were made via phone calls and text messages.

In the first call he received, Pérez Méndez was insulted by the caller and told to mind his own business. About eight minutes later he received a second call, from a mobile phone, in which the caller referred to his publications and told him “you have been warned”.

After the phone calls, the journalist continued to receive written threats to his mobile phone. Pérez Méndez has reported the incidents to the Human Rights Ombudsman's Office and the Unit for Crimes against Journalists within the Public Prosecutor's Office has been informed of the case.

The elQuetzalteco editor said that he will not be silenced by the threats, which are an attempt to stop the public from hearing the truth.

He also said that the people threatening him will be responsible for anything that might happen to him. Although they have not been identified, Pérez Méndez says he has an idea of where the threats are coming from and that he still has the right to publish his own research.

Miguel Ángel Méndez Zetina, the managing editor at Prensa Libre, has condemned the threats and agreed that because of the elQuetzalteco editorial line, which defends the interests of the city of Quetzaltenango, it is not hard to figure out who is behind the threats.

He also added that it was terrible that during the week leading up to the Day of the Journalist, 30 November, that a distinguished member of the press should be suffering these threats.

Ileana Alamilla, coordinator for Cerigua's Journalists Observatory, condemned the incidents and urged authorities to not only take measures against the threats, but to expedite the investigation. She added that during 2013 there have been more incidents involving the press than in previous years. To date, Cerigua has documented 54 attacks, in comparison to 36 in all of 2012 and 33 in 2011.

(Please note this is an abridged translation.)
What other IFEX members are saying
  • Threats to Guatemalan journalist brings IAPA rebuke

    IAPA reports that the threats against Pérez Méndez "were said to be linked to the news coverage of corruption in Quetzaltenango, the Central American country’s second largest city."

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