Dominican Republic Journalists being gagged

The Dominican Journalists Union (CDP) has expressed its alarm at the number of journalists taken to court over the last two months and has called on the authorities to investigate the situation.

Celebrating National Human Rights Day yesterday, 10 December, CDP president Olivo De Leon said that 12 journalists have been subject to court hearings in order to silence them and stop them writing or speaking about corruption and other issues.

He also complained about the level of aggression, abuse, threats and intimidation experienced by 35 journalists, camera operators and photographers so far this year, and called upon those affected to take their aggressors to court, reminding them that the CDP and their lawyers were an available resource for them.

The journalists who have been taken to court to prevent them from publishing include Fausto Soto, General Secretary of the CDP branch in Peravia-Azua-Ocoa, Aridio Vasquez from La Vega, Carmelo Soriano from Haina and a former Telemicro journalist, Robert Vargas, editor of Ciudadoriental.net, and El Dia reporter Julio Benzan who was also physically and verbally abused and received death threats from the urban artist known as El Sujeto

The journalists who have been taken to court to prevent them from publishing include Fausto Soto, General Secretary of the CDP branch in Peravia-Azua-Ocoa, Aridio Vasquez from La Vega, Carmelo Soriano from Haina and a former Telemicro journalist, Robert Vargas, editor of Ciudadoriental.net, and El Dia reporter Julio Benzan who was also physically and verbally abused and received death threats from the urban artist known as El Sujeto

In addition, Fausto Rosario, Juan Taveras Hernandez, Z-101 commentator; Willy and Bienvenido Rodriguez, Director and Owner of Z-101; Juan Bolivar Diaz, Director of Telematutino Uno mas Uno; broadcast by Teleantillas Channel 2, and Luis Eduardo Lora (Huchi), producer of El Dia, transmitted by Telesistema, Channel 11.

De Leon said that the Executive Branch, the Attorney General, Francisco Dominguez Brito, and the Head of the National Police, Major General Manuel Castro Castillo, should not remain indifferent to the situation.

He revealed that Fausto Soto was taken to court by a businessman, Aridio Vasquez by Felix Nova, Senator from Monsenor Nouel, Robert Vargas and Julio Benzan by Deputy Alfredo Martinez, and Juan Taveras Hernandez, Willy and Bienvenido Rodriguez by Felix Bautista, Senator for San Juan de la Maguana.

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