Police officers are seen following a protest in Guatemala City on November 24, 2020. CPJ recently joined a call for authorities to drop charges against radio journalist Anastasia Mejía Tiriquiz, who was arrested over her protest coverage. (AP/Moises Castillo)

CPJ joins call for Guatemalan authorities to drop criminal charges against journalist Anastasia Mejía

The Committee to Protect Journalists today joined 50 human rights organizations, media outlets, and individuals in a statement calling on Guatemalan authorities to drop all remaining charges against Indigenous radio journalist Anastasia Mejía Tiriquiz.

Mejía is facing charges of sedition and aggravated attack for her alleged participation in an August 24, 2020, demonstration, according to the statement. Police arrested Mejía on September 22 for allegedly joining in that protest against a local mayor, as CPJ documented at the time. She was held at a detention center in Quetzaltenango for five weeks until being released pending trial, the statement said. 

Mejía, a member of the Maya K’iche’ community and director of the Xol Abaj Radio and Xol Abaj TV outlets, had covered the protests on Xol Abaj TV’s Facebook page, according to the statement and CPJ’s coverage from the time.

The statement calls Mejía’s detention and criminal prosecution a “clear attack on freedom of expression and the public’s right to access information.”

The statement says the “disproportionate charges and erratic judicial process seem aimed less at justice than toward intimidating community journalists like Mejia,” and calls on authorities to drop the charges before her next court hearing on January 11.

The statement is available in English and Spanish.