Unprecedented wave of arrests in radio journalist’s murder

first_imgNews RSF begins research into mechanisms for protecting journalists in Latin America News RSF’s 2020 Round-up: 50 journalists killed, two-thirds in countries “at peace” HondurasAmericas April 27, 2021 Find out more HondurasAmericas May 13, 2021 Find out more Follow the news on Honduras Help by sharing this information to go furthercenter_img Reports RSF_en Five alleged members of a gang suspected of abducting and murdering radio HRN journalist Alfredo Villatoro were arrested in a police raid in Cofradía, in the northern department of Cortés, on 27 May. The arrests bring to 10 the number of people now charged in connection with the murder of Villatoro, whose body was found on 15 May.The latest arrests came two days after major demonstrations by media and journalists’ organizations in five Honduran cities in protest against impunity for acts of violence against media personnel.“We take note of the speed with which the authorities are investigating this murder, which has shaken public opinion,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The significance of such a determined police operation should not however divert attention from the need to carefully establish all the circumstances surrounding Villatoro’s murder and the role of all those involved. “We call on the authorities to deploy the same resources in the 28 other – mostly unsolved –murders of journalists which, according to the National Human Rights Commission (CONADEH) have taken place since 2003 (23 of them since the June 2009 coup), and in all the other cases of people who have paid with their lives for providing information, including human rights activists, lawyers, and representatives of NGOs and community organizations.”Aged 15 to 29, those arrested in the 27 May raid were named as Edgar Francisco and Osman Fernando Osorio (two brothers), Marvin Alonso Gómez, Xiomara Flores Bú and a teenage girl whose identity was not released. They finally surrendered to the police after mediation by Canal 6 journalist Edy Andino. The three men have so far been charged with criminal association and illegal carriage of firearms.Two sisters, Jessica and Katlin Zambrano, and their cousin, Marvin Enrique Oliva, were arrested a few days after the discovery of Villatoro’s body on charges of abduction and complicity. And two prison inmates, Juan Ramón Fonseca and Miguel Ángel Álvarez, have also been linked to the case. Álvarez, a police officer, is alleged to have conducted ransom negotiations with the Villatoro family by mobile phone from his prison cell.According to the Committee for Free Expression (C-Libre), a Reporters Without Borders partner organization, suspects were arrested in two other cases in March. Former police officer David Lanza Valdez was arrested in Cortés department in connection with the August 2010 murder of journalist Israel Zelaya Díaz. And in Colón department, Gabriel Menocal Vargas was arrested for the murder of journalist Fausto Elio Hernández, who was hacked to death with a machete on 11 March of this year.But the investigation into the murder of journalist David Meza Montesinos in March 2010 in La Ceiba has ground to a halt since the main suspect was released at the end of 2011. May 29, 2012 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Unprecedented wave of arrests in radio journalist’s murder News Organisation Receive email alerts 2011-2020: A study of journalist murders in Latin America confirms the importance of strengthening protection policies December 28, 2020 Find out morelast_img read more

Newspaper heavily fined for libel

first_img Help by sharing this information News Newspaper heavily fined for libel May 28, 2021 Find out more Follow the news on Belarus June 10, 2005 – Updated on January 20, 2016 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -Government persists in judicial hounding of independent press18 May 2005Reporters Without Borders has expressed concern about persistent government hounding of the independent press through the courts.The country’s leading independent newspaper, the Minsk-based Narodnaya Volya, selling 30,000 copies five times weekly, received a warning from the justice ministry on 16 May for “publishing false reports”, in violation of Article 32 of the media law. On the same day, the newspaper learned that workers at the state-owned company Belaruskalii had laid complaints for libel for having printed their names in a 23 April article headlined, “Such is the people’s will”.The article listed 300 Belaruskalii workers who had signed a letter backing the foundation of an opposition movement “The People’s Will”. Five workers denied signing and claimed the equivalent of around 18,200 euros damages from the paper.One of the workers suing the newspaper, Syarhey Katovich, admitted in an interview with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty having come under pressure from the company’s management, as had his four colleagues. “You know, I nearly lost my job”, he said. News Reporters Without Borders said it was concerned about the latest case and condemned the exploitation of the media law to silence dissident voices. “”A country under the rule of law should ensure a separation of powers. President Alexander Lukashenko is fully justifying his place on our list of press freedom “predators”, it added.Narodnaya Volya received the list of signatories in favour of the creation of “The People’s Will” directly from the movement’s co-ordinator. After receiving a letter from Belaruskalii’s management, the newspaper published a retraction of the list in its 14 May edition, to avoid legal trouble.The paper’s editor, Yosif Syaredzich, told Reporters Without Borders’ correspondent that the “information ministry has played the role of examining magistrate, prosecutor and judge. Under the media law, anyone brining a case against a newspaper must first ask for a correction to be published and if necessary, apologies as well. In this case, the information ministry immediately sent a warning without first informing the editor of the basis of the complaints or the date of the decision.”The newspaper had received a previous warning on 13 April, for carrying an appeal from the “Defenders of the homeland”, a group that was not registered with the authorities, in its 31 March edition.Narodnaya Volya is also facing a complaint lodged on 5 April by Syarhey Gaidukevich, leader of the Belarus Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), who is claiming the equivalent of 73,000 euros damages against the newspaper for having suggested that the LDP cooperated with the former Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein and received financial backing from him. BelarusEurope – Central Asia Organisation Narodnaya Volya, the country’s main independent newspaper, was fined 7,000 euros on 9 June by a Minsk court after publishing a petition in favour ofthe opposition party “The People’s Will” on 23 April that included the names of six people, some of them residents of the town of Klyotsk and others working for the firm Belaruskaliy, in Soligorsk, who denied havingsigned it. The verdict was delivered by judges Vera Tupik and Tatyana Zhyklovskaya, of the city’s Leninsky court. The paper had tried to avoid legal proceedings by publishing an apology on 14 May. RSF_en to go further RSF at the Belarusian border: “The terrorist is the one who jails journalists and intimidates the public” BelarusEurope – Central Asia June 2, 2021 Find out more News “We welcome opening of criminal investigation in Lithuania in response to our complaint against Lukashenko” RSF says Receive email alerts Russian media boss drops the pretence and defends Belarus crackdown News May 27, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more