Mario Ortega

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

On November 10, 2020, two unidentified individuals shot Mario Ortega outside his home in the southwestern Guatemalan city of San José, according to news reports and a relative of the journalist, who spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisal.

Following the attack, Ortega was transferred to a local hospital, where he remained in intensive care until he died on November 14, according to those reports.

Ortega was the founder of San José Total, a TV station and digital news outlet where he also worked as a reporter covering local political and social issues, according to the relative and a statement by the Association of Guatemalan Journalists, a local press advocacy group.

 “We know that he received threats but he never gave more information to the family,” Ortega’s relative said. Ortega also worked part-time at a local gas station, his relative told CPJ.

Jordán Rodas, Guatemala’s official human rights ombudsman, condemned the killing and urged authorities to investigate the case in a message posted on his Twitter account.

CPJ called the Guatemalan National Police Headquarters and Pedro Castillo, a police spokesperson, for comment, but no one answered. CPJ messaged the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Crimes Against Journalists, but did not receive any response.