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Radio Journalist Murdered as Climate Becomes More Hostile for Media In Guatemala
Radio host Luis de Jesús Lima was shot outside his office in the eastern part of Guatemala, becoming the third journalist murdered this year alone in the country. Freedom House calls on authorities to thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding Lima’s death, and urges the Guatemalan government to take measures to better protect journalists in an effort to end violence against the media.
On August 6, local firefighters found 68-year old Lima dead in his car outside the Sultana Radio Station in the Eastern province of Zacapa. Lima hosted a local news and music program, and it is likely that he was targeted for this work. Journalists in rural areas of Guatemala have faced increasing threats from local authorities and organized crime, which in turn has discouraged them from reporting.
“Freedom of the press is foundational for the democratic development of any society, yet press freedom will not flourish when violence is directed against journalists. In Central America such incidences of violence are becoming tragically commonplace, and the Guatemalan government must take serious, credible, and immediate steps to safeguard press freedom. Journalists must be free to report – safely – on the most pressing issues affecting the country,” said Chloe Schwenke, vice president for global programs at Freedom House.
Guatemala is ranked Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2013 and Freedom of the Press 2013, and has one of the highest homicide rates in Latin America, with an average of 16 murders daily.