By: Editorial Staff
THE COMMITTEE ON Freedom of the Press and Information of the Inter American Press Association has urged the Guatemalan government to investigate attacks against a U.S. journalist who was ordered out of the country.
IAPA also requested clarification of various murders and attacks against Guatemalan reporters, and criticized the Cuban government for harassment and intimidation of journalists.
IAPA’s stance on Guatemala was prompted by a promise of the government there to investigate attacks on journalist and filmmaker Sky Callahan, who, the press group said, was beaten by soldiers, kidnapped and threatened with death unless he left the country.
In a letter to President Ramiro de Leon Carpio, IAPA committee chair Danilo Arbilla urged Guatemalan officials to investigate this “contemptible incident” and criticized the lack of attention given to other murders, attacks and harassment of newspeople there.
Arbilla cited as examples the murder last January of El Grafico columnist Alberto Antoniotti Monje, and the March kidnapping of Gerson Lopez from La Republica, incidents which still had not been explained.
“Without a firm determination to punish those responsible and to end the climate of impunity, freedom of the press will continue to be subject to violence and to be denied to the Guatemalan people,” said Arbilla, editor of Seminario Busqueda in Montevideo, Uruguay.
The IAPA committee also sent a letter to Cuban President Fidel Castro condemning the “flagrant violations of press freedom and human rights” demonstrated in a series of arrests and interrogations of independent journalists.
The letter asked Castro to “cease these intimidating practices and to withdraw the iron-fisted control over Cuban news agencies and other media.”
IAPA protested the July 12 arrests of Rafael Solano Morales, editor of the independent news agency HabanaPress, and Jos Rivero Garcia of the Independent Journalists Organization.