Local October 5, 2015 | 7:39 am

Murder, death threats mar Dominican Republic press freedom

Santo Domingo.- The shootingattack on a TV reporter, the murder of a journalist by a band of assassins anddeath threats against three others have cast a shadow on the exercise ofjournalism in the Dominican Republic in the second half of 2015.

Detailing some casesin a day of meetings of the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) held inNorth Carolina, Press Freedom Committee vice president Miguel Franjul said veteranmedia journalist Blas Olivo, who served as spokesman for a private agribusinessboard when he was shot dead on April 13. The seven individuals accused of formingpart of a ring of hitmen linked to drug traffickerswere sent to pretrial detention for one year. All seven denied taking part inthe crime.

Despite the court ruling,three’s mounting doubt as to the guilt of those being held because during the NationalPolice investigation two leaders of the alleged ring were killed, one in astreet shooting and the other in a maximum security prison where he was servinga 30-year sentence.

Both the Olivo familyas well as various sectors have said that the elimination of the two allegedgang leaders aims to erase the evidence which could lead to the real murderers.

In yet another case purportedburglars broke into the the residence of prominent TV journalist Marino Zapete´sresidence in late May, but only took his laptop. One of the allegedparticipants was killed in a shootout with police.


Nonetheless Franjulsaid the media in Dominican Republic operate "unimpeded and withoutpressure or of government censorship.”

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