Local August 30, 2011 | 12:24 pm

Dominican Republic journalists again rail the Government

Santo Domingo.- For the second time in one year the Dominican Government draws the media’s rebuke, when a group of TV, press and radio journalists Tuesday denounced an offensive against them by officials and political leaders, aimed at curtailing Dominican society’s hard won freedom of expression.

Speaking for the journalists gathered in support of their colleague Nuria Piera, Juan Bolivar Diaz said a climate of such pressure, discrimination, disqualification and calumnies hasn’t been felt against the media in a long time, especially against those which more actively denunciate corruption and drug trafficking, that he affirms corrodes Dominican society to the core.

In that regard Huchi Lora railed what he called a “constant” campaign against journalists who denounce corruption, noting the case of Hector Rodriguez Pimentel, former head of the Agrarian Institute and of the Hydraulic Resources Institute, linked to several cases of malfeasance. “He tried every juggling act to assure that the legal proceeding didn’t advance, but the court ruled against him, set a precedent.”

The row comes in the wake of threats of legal action against the advertisers of Piera’s TV program by Insurance Superintendent Euclides Gutierrez Felix, after she revealed the official’s debt of around 70 bills totaling more than RD$3.0 million to the electric company.

Piera also denounced the handling of private information by officials in the case, such as the number of a passport of a person she didn’t identify, but affirms that it was illegally provided.

Lora also asked the media and civil society to state their rejection of the lawyer Raul Reyes Vazquez as a candidate to the higher courts, for in his view violating the law on free enterprise and freedom of the press, when he collaborated with Gutierrez in the threat against Piera’s advertisers.

Denouncement abroad

Teleantillas News director Juan Bolivar Diaz also blamed Presidency Press director Rafael Núñez and other political leaders “bent on stigmatizing dissent” for the alleged campaign of threats against journalists’ who denounce embezzlement and other forms of corruption, in his view arguing “a media plan” against the government.

Diaz added that the intimidation of journalists and media will be denounced to international organizations such as the Inter-American Press Society, the UNESCO Press Society, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, among others.

The journalists Miguel Guerrero, Alicia Ortega, Michel Carot and Altagracia Salazar were among the speakers in the press conference held in the offices of the Dominican Industries Association (AIRD).

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