Guatemalan newspaper director receives death threats after investigating local corruption

Guatemalan journalist César Pérez Méndez, director of newspaper El Quetzalteco, has received several death threats through phone calls and text messages in the last few days after his publication began investigating corruption cases that involve local authorities in the city of Quetzaltenango, daily Prensa Libre reported.

The UN's special rapporteur on press freedom Frank La Rue, said that Guatemala has returned to times of terror and the threats against Pérez Méndez are "unacceptable."

Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina condemned the threats against the journalist and said he hopes the investigations will lead to those responsible.

Pérez Méndez, who also reported he's been followed when driving through the city, called the threats an attempt to block society's right to be informed with the truth.”

Jorge De León Duque, Guatemala's human rights prosecutor, condemned the intimidation and requested national and international cautionary measures for Pérez Méndez.

According to Prensa Libre, El Quetzalteco, which is distributed in the second most important city of Guatemala, often investigates and reports on public interest topics, government transparency and human rights.

According to IFEX's impunity report this yearGuatemala has become one of the most dangerous countries to practice journalism. The number of freedom of expression violations in the country went from 19 in 2010 to 48 in the first nine months of 2013, which include four killings and eight death threats.

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.