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Journalists Murdered Mid-Broadcast In The Dominican

  • Kristina Evans
  • Feb 26, 2017 10:26AM

Two journalists were shot dead during a live broadcast in the Dominican Republic on Tuesday. Officials say the police have arrested three men in connection with the incident, but no charges have been filed against them yet.

The attackers burst into the 103.5 FM studio as radio personality Luis Manuel Medina was reading the news live on air, letting loose several shots according to station employees. Director and producer Leonidas Martinez was killed in his adjacent office at the station. Station secretary Dayaba Garcia was also injured in the incident, but officials on site were able to transport her to the hospital where she received emergency surgery.

Medina, the host of the news program Milenio Caliente - or Hot Millennium - was mid-broadcast when gunfire could be heard during the Facebook Live video, followed by a woman screaming, “Shots! Shots! Shots!” before the transmission abruptly cuts off.

“Two people have died and one has been injured,” national police spokesman William Alcantara confirmed with reporters, but noted that they have not yet determined the motive behind the brutal attack during the middle of the day. The shooting occurred in San Pedro de Macoris, a small city 45 miles east of the capital, Santo Domingo. The radio station is located in a shopping mall.

Media rights watchdog, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), has released comments about how journalists who tackle corruption and drug trafficking in the Dominican Republic often fall victim to attacks. Although small in numbers compared to other countries in the region like Mexico, Brazil and Guatemala, harassment and even death threats are common for those covering crime and politics. Medina, 47, and Martinez, 60, were longtime collaborators for Milenio Caliente, which in August would be celebrating 25 years on the air. It is a popular breakfast show known for coverage of social issues and political analysis. Medina was a supporter of sharing diverse opinions and refused to shy away from controversial topics. He often encouraged callers to reach out to discuss current events, and even to show up at the station to denounce local drug pushers, dishonest businesses, or problems accessing health care. At the time of death, Medina had been criticizing pollution problems at Laguna Mallen, a lake in San Pedro which is supposed to be a protected natural resort.