Panama expels Spanish journalists after environmental protest

Spanish journalists Francisco Gómez Nadal and Pilar Chato agreed to leave Panama after their arrest during a protest by indigenous groups against mining reforms.

Chato and Nadal, who are married, were accused of “instigating” and “inciting violence” during the protest, while Nadal says he was acting as an “observer.”

Panamanian President Ricardo Martinell severely criticized the pair for their alleged participation in the demonstration: “A journalist is someone who reports things as they are. A person who becomes an activist, who…incites violence, that is another thing,” he said, quoted by the AFP.

The journalists asked to be repatriated to Spain after spending two days in prison, EFE explains.

Reporters without Borders said the arrests and expulsion “represent a denial of freedom of expression on a matter of public interest.”

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.