Journalists threatened with death after reporting on murder scandal

MARCH 2, 2007
Posted: April 2, 2007



Erick Salazar, news director for the program “Guatavisión,” aired on the national television station by the same name, reported that unidentified individuals threatened the program’s reporters with death if they continued to report on the political scandal that followed the murder of three Salvadoran congressmen and their driver in Guatemala. Reporters from at least one print outlet and two radios reported receiving similar threats, according to press reports.

The three Salvadoran congressmen and their driver were kidnapped outside Guatemala City on their way to a Central American Parliament meeting on February 19, reported The New York Times. They were murdered execution style and their bodies were burned on a rural road. Four Guatemalan police officers were arrested a few days later, and mysteriously murdered on February 25 inside a Guatemalan prison, reported the Guatemalan and international press.

Salazar told the Spanish news service EFE that Guatavisión’s management received an anonymous death threat via e-mail. The message, said Salazar, criticized the program’s reporting on the murder scandal and gave specific details about the program’s staff and their families.

The local and international press reported that several other unidentified Guatemalan journalists had received similar threats directly linked to their reporting on the murders. Reporters from a local newspaper and two radio stations said they had received emails as well as calls to their cellular phones, according to press reports. At least one of the threatened journalists told The Associated Press that he did not wish to be identified for fear of reprisal.