A Magazine by the Society of Professional Journalists

International Journalism In-Brief

By Quill

A popular radio host known for criticizing Costa Rican public officials and a news director of a southern Colombian radio station were both shot and killed within a day of each other in July. Parmenio Medina Perez, the radio host, was shot three times at close range July 7 about 300 feet from his home in Heredia, just days after he complained of receiving threats, the Costa Rican attorney general’s office told The Associated Press. No suspects were detained, but authorities said they would try to glean information from a complaint Medina filed with them a few days earlier. Just a day before, on July 6, gunmen shot and killed Jose Dubiel Vasquez, the second news director from Voice of the Jungle Radio killed since December, officials said. Vasquez was leaving the station, located in Florencia, on July 6 when two men passing by on a motorcycle opened fire. Officials told the AP that they had no suspects at the time. Vasquez, 55, came to Florencia in January to replace Alfredo Abad, who had been killed in Florencia in December. He, too, was killed by motorcycle gunmen, and that killing has not been solved. BURMA RELEASES REPORTER AFTER YEARS IN PRISON
Burmese journalist San San Nweh left prison on July 18, three years before her sentence for anti-government reporting was scheduled to end, according to the Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontieres and the Freedom Forum. Jailed since Aug. 5, 1994, San San Nweh later saw her sentence extended to 10 years for “producing and sending anti-government reports to international radio stations and foreign journalists passing through the country,” according to the Freedom Forum. San San Nweh, the first Burmese woman known to have trained as a journalist, was recognized by several media groups while she was in prison. In 1999, she received the annual Fondation de France prize from RSF, awarded to journalists who have “demonstrated their devotion to press freedom.” She is also this year’s co-winner of the Golden Pen of Freedom award, given by the Paris-based World Association of Newspapers. While the RSF welcomed her release, the group noted in a press release that “her health suffered during her detention” and that she “was refused treatment for several diseases she suffered in her filthy cell: high blood pressure, a kidney infection, thrombocytopenia, etc.” UKRAINE JOURNALISTS LIVE IN FEAR, GROUPS REPORT
Ukrainian journalists say they are living in fear after two of their colleagues were attacked in July. The unresolved violence against journalists has brought criticism from within the country and abroad. Paris-based Reporters sans Frontieres has been particularly harsh in its comments. “Ukraine has the worst record in Europe for violence against journalists,” the organization’s chief, Robert Menard, told the BBC July 17. Menard’s remarks came in the wake of TV chief Ihor Oleksandrov’s death. Oleksandrov, head of the private radio and television company TOR and a well-known crusader against corruption and organized crime, died after being beaten with baseball bats in the stairwell of the TV building earlier in July. He was the 11th journalist to be killed in Ukraine in the past five years. Reporters Without Borders appealed to Prime Minister Anatoliy Kinakh to take personal control of the investigation. The motive for the assault was unclear.