November 24, 2007
Posted January 10, 2008
Noel Encarnación, Freelance, Despierta Ocoa
Police attacked and threatened Encarnación, a freelance photographer and reporter for the radio news show “Despierta Ocoa” (Wake up Ocoa) on local state-owned radio Maniel FM, after he photographed victims of Hurricane Noel in the province of San José de Ocoa in central Dominican Republic, the reporter told CPJ.
After Hurricane Noel hit the Dominican Republic in early November, killing at least 84 people, Encarnación was sent to cover the refugee crisis in San José de Ocoa. The reporter said that he was photographing a group of people who had not been given shelter when police officers and military personnel approached him. At least six uniformed men beat Encarnación, destroying his camera and taking his cell phone.
Ecarnación told CPJ that he was then forced into a police car, where one of the officers allegedly said, “If you speak to the media we’ll have you killed.” Moments later, the reporter was released with minor injuries to his right ankle. Encarnación told CPJ that he reported the aggression to the district attorney’s office. Repeated calls from CPJ to local authorities were not returned.