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Journalist walking with grandson shot dead in Guatemala

June 7, 2016

A television journalist walking with his grandson in a city street in eastern Guatemala was shot dead by two assailants on a motorbike Tuesday, police and fellow local reporters said.

Victor Valdez, a 66-year-old Guatemalan journalist who led a cultural program on local cable network TL-COM for the past 29 years, was killed while walking with his teenaged relative in Chiquimula, a city near the border with Honduras where he lived.

The motive for the deadly attack was not immediately known, local police chief Abelino Lajuj said.

The two assailants went up to Valdez, shot him, then rode off, Lajuj said.

“We condemn this crime and express our solidarity with the family and with the journalistic trade. We demand a rapid investigation,” said Ileana Alamilla, head of the Guatemalan Journalists’ Association.

She called on President Jimmy Morales to speed the establishment of a special body to protect journalists provided for under a four-year-old decree.

Three murders of reporters have been recorded in Guatemala in 2015 and the first four months of 2016, along with 256 cases of threats, assaults and coercion against journalists, according to prosecutors.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.