Media Interviews Risks and impunity: Reporter shot in the face during street protests in Chile Risks to the physical integrity of journalists are not only in war zones like Ukraine, but also… 05/05/2022 13:08

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Risks to the physical integrity of journalists are present not only in war zones like Ukraine, but also in the news of demonstrations, and there is another dramatic case: a Chilean journalist is hospitalized in “extreme gravity” after being shot in the face. .

Francisca Sandoval was documenting a Labor Day parade in Santiago’s Meiggs neighborhood for local community broadcaster Canal Señal 3 La Victoria. Gunmen opened fire on the participants, injuring other journalists.

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The case enraged Chile above all because it repeated the pattern of impunity that has become common in crimes against the press: the suspects were arrested, but the prosecution ordered them to remain under house arrest.

Journalist’s trial shocked Chile

Organizations defending free journalism condemned the attack that took place two days before the incident. World Press Freedom Day.

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The case reached political dimensions. Chilean President Gabriel Boric was in the hospital where the journalist was taken on Tuesday and met with his family (3). A group of parliamentarians demanding measures against violence also agreed.

Chile is not among the countries with the most critical press freedom status in the world or in Latin America, ranking 82 out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) global press freedom index released on 3 May.

Brazil ranks 110th on the list. But both are in the orange range, which is considered “problematic”.

In its analysis of the country, RSF highlighted the resurgence of street protests and questioned the current political model, exposing violence against journalists by the police and military intelligence services.

He pointed out that existing laws are not effective in protecting media professionals, “despite some progress, attacks against journalists and the media remain largely unpunished”.

This chapter also highlights another weakness in the work of the press in several countries, due to the lack of training and personal protective equipment to work in risky places.

Journalist shot during police crackdown

A few images of the walk were shared on the social networks of Señal 3 La Victoria, the publisher Francisca serves.

The videos show the moment when the police tried to disperse the crowd with water jets and rubber bullets.

Journalists Matías Burmiller and Fabiola Moreno were also shot during protests in Santiago. According to local media, they have both been discharged from the hospital.

In a new health bulletin released Thursday (5), Posta Central Hospital stated that the journalist’s condition was “extremely serious” with no change. He is admitted to the intensive care unit.

A vigil was held in front of the hospital.

The union also confirmed that Rádio 7 reporter Fabiola Moreno was shot in the shoulder during the show. Reporter Roberto Caro from the community newspaper Prensa Piensa was also shot and wounded in the leg.

Both received medical treatment and are currently discharged to CPJ (Committee to Protect Journalists), according to Danilo Ahumada, president of the Chilean Journalists’ Union.

Natalie Southwick, CPJ’s Latin America and Caribbean Program Coordinator in New York, urged Chilean authorities to investigate the case of journalists who were shot in the face and injured others:

“Protests are consistently one of the most dangerous environments for journalists in Chile, and it is critical that they be able to cover demonstrations safely and without fear of violence.”

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has called for emergency action, specifically to determine whether aggression against journalists is preventing them from doing their job.

“This event, which took place two days before World Press Freedom Day, shows that journalistic work in this type of news is still not guaranteed and that remnants of the extreme violence inflicted by press professionals and protesters in the 2019 social protests in Chile still remain. ”

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3 people arrested as a result of shooting of journalist

Shortly after the incident, Chilean police detained two people suspected of firing a firearm at a May 1 protest in the capital.

According to local media reports, the prosecution placed them under house arrest, which aroused further anger among journalists.

Domingo Vargas, president of the National Federation of Social Workers (FENATRAMCO), criticized the court’s decision, according to CPJ:

“The attack on community media journalists is getting more confusing.

This confusion is given by some of the videos and photographs of the people involved, taken during a heated conversation with the police officers who ‘supposedly’ put pressure on the people who caused the riot.

Those detained and alleged to be responsible for the incident were placed under house arrest. It’s a powerfully striking fact.”

Tool Francisca Sandoval also spoke about the two detainees being held under house arrest. For Señal 3 La Victoria, the “power of impunity” has been strengthened by the Ministry of Justice and the Public.

“[Isso é] A mockery for the wounded and our colleague.”

(2) On Monday, Chilean Investigative Police arrested a third suspect, who is being investigated as the person responsible for Francisca’s shooting.

Hours before visiting the journalist’s family at the hospital, president Gabriel Boric attended a meeting with independent senator Fabiola Campilla to discuss the case of the journalist who was shot and others affected.

Impunity for crimes against journalists

UNESCO drew attention to the issue of impunity in its annual report on the state of journalism in the world, published in January. According to the organization, 87% of all crimes against journalists since 2006 remain unsolved.

The focus of attention in the document was the risk of street demonstrations:

In addition to repeated murders of journalists, many professionals in the industry continue to be at risk of high rates of physical violence, intimidation, harassment and arrest, which may even be in the news of street protests.

Women journalists are still victims of cyber harassment.

Exposure to hazards in demonstrations was also covered in an article in the LatAm Journalism Review (LJR), stating: Violence happens often in Latin America.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), at least 11 journalists have died during protests in Latin America and the Caribbean over the past 29 years (2021 data).

In most cases, suspected attackers are security forces or government actors.

DOf the 11 cases, LJR research showed that only two resulted in convictions and were confirmed.

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source: Noticias

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