Guatemalan journalist arrested amid censorship concerns
August 1, 2022
Guatemalan journalist José Rubén Zamora was arrested in his home on Friday night, announced the Special Prosecutor's Office Against Impunity (FECI) on Twitter, spurring concerns of government censorship and corruption. Zamora, president of the newspaper elPeriódico, was arrested “on charges including possible money laundering, blackmail… according to the Guatemalan attorney general’s office,” reports the New York Times. elPeriódico offices were also raided.
elPeriódico is an investigative newspaper and has exposed various instances of government corruption, and Zamora himself is an outspoken critic of the administration. This has led human rights activists and political analysts to question the true motives behind his arrest (Reuters).
According to the Asociación de Periodistas de Guatemala (APG), 350 attacks and restrictions on the press were registered between January 2020 and June 2022, making Alejandro Giammattei’s government the administration with the highest number of reported media aggressions in the country (APG). Zamora’s arrest follows “a crackdown on prosecutors, judges, human rights activists, journalists, and opposition officials by FECI,” writes Reuters, and many Guatemalans working on anti-corruption efforts have fled the country or were forced to live in exile. This incident “could end up being a breaking point for press freedom in Guatemala,” says Pappier, an Americas analyst at Human Rights Watch (El Pais).
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