Charges dropped against website photojournalist arrested during anti-dam protest in Chile

The Chilean prosecutor's office has dropped the "public disorder" charges against photographer Marcela Rodríguez, who was working with the indigenous Mapuche digital newspaper Mapuexpress. Rodríguez had been arrested during a protest May 13, reported Liwenmapu.

The photojournalist was in the southern city of Temuco covering a protest against construction by hydro-electric companies in Patagonia when she was arrested and mistreated by police.

Reporters Without Borders also reported that two days before the charges were dropped, the court temporarily suspended the construction project of five hydro-electric centers in Patagonia, which had prompted the protest when Rodríguez was arrested in the first place. Reporters Without Borders questioned whether the two court decisions signify a step toward peaceful debate about environmental issues in Chilean society. “We hope that that the withdrawal of the charges against Rodríguez means that an issue of major public interest is no longer off limits,” the organization said.

The day before charges were dropped, freedom of press and human rights organizations brought Rodríguez's case before the Human Rights Commission of the Organization of American States.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.