Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Radio Victoria continues to receive threats

Amnesty International and many other human rights and solidarity organizations have reacted to a new round of threatening messages received by the staff at Radio Victoria in Cabañas. Radio Victoria has been prominent in reporting on the gold-mining conflict and other social issues in the region. From Amnesty International:

Authorities in El Salvador must take immediate action to protect journalists who fear for their lives after receiving a series of death threats, Amnesty International said today.  From 30 April to 4 May, staff members at Radio Victoria, a community radio station committed to social and human rights reporting in Cabañas region north-east of the capital San Salvador, told Amnesty International they received repeated death threats claiming to come from a “death squad.” 
“It’s unacceptable for El Salvador to stand by while members of the media receive threats intended to silence them,” said Guadalupe Marengo, Amnesty International's Americas Deputy Director.   “The Salvadoran authorities must immediately provide protection to the staff and launch an independent, thorough and impartial investigation into these repeated threats and bring those responsible to justice.” 
A letter delivered to Radio Victoria at early on the morning of 30 April threatened the lives of journalists Pablo Ayala and Manuel Navarte if they failed to stop broadcasting and leave the area within three days. The author of the letter claimed to have photographs and video of the two journalists.  On 2 May, Pablo Ayala and Marixela Ramos, a news producer at Radio Victoria, received several text messages threatening them.  Several hours after Radio Victoria staff held a press conference about the intimidation in San Salvador on 4 May, they received additional threatening text messages.
You can read about the work of Radio Victoria in this 2010 blog post from Voices from El Salvador. In August 2009, I wrote about threats and reported acts of sabotage against the radio station during a time period when the gold mining conflict was at its height. There is an online petition at Change.org which you can sign to show support for demands for an investigation of these threats against journalism in El Salvador.

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