Dominican journalists shot dead during live radio broadcast

Santo Domingo (AFP) – Two journalists were shot dead during a live radio broadcast in the Dominican Republic, police and media said.

Unidentified attackers burst into the 103.5 FM studio as presenter Luis Manuel Medina was reading the news on air on Tuesday and shot him dead, station employees were quoted as saying by local media.

Moments before that the station’s director Leonidas Martinez was killed in his office, they said.

In a video of the broadcast, which was streamed on Facebook, gunfire is heard as Medina reads the news and a woman’s voice is heard calling “Shots, shots!”

“Two people have died and one has been injured,” national police spokesman William Alcantara told reporters. He identified the injured person as the station’s secretary.

The attack occurred at the radio station’s office in San Pedro de Macoris, east of the capital Santo Domingo.

Medina was presenting the influential investigative news show “Milenio Caliente,” or “Hot Millenium,” on Tuesday morning in the Caribbean nation, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti and is a popular beach destination for foreign tourists.

The Miami-based Interamerican Press Society (SIP) condemned the 103.5 FM “tragedy” in a statement.

Its press freedom chief Roberto Rock urged investigators “to shed light on the killings and bring those responsible to justice, to prevent impunity from protecting those who want to keep generating violence against the media.”

Media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders says that journalists who tackle corruption and drug trafficking in the Dominican Republic often fall victim to attacks.

“Freedom of information is also weakened by continuing impunity for crimes of violence against media personnel and the concentration of media ownership in few hands,” it said in a 2015 report.

The watchdog noted that Blas Olivo, press director of the Dominican Agribusiness Association, was found murdered that year.

A television cameraman was shot dead in broad daylight in 2014 and a newspaper reporter was shot at but not hurt days before that.

Other journalists have said they were victims of hate campaigns after speaking up for the citizenship rights of Haitians born in the Dominican Republic.

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