26 Dezembro 2003

IAPA urges Costa Rica to act in murder of journalist

MIAMI, Florida (December 26, 2003)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today expressed outrage at the murder of a journalist in Costa Rica and called on the authorities there to begin an immediate investigation and to not permit an earlier murder in the Central American country to continue to go unpunished.

Ivannia Mora Rodríguez, 33, was mortally wounded in the evening of December 23 as she was driving her car in a downtown San José street. Two assailants on a motorcycle shot her at close range and fled. She died shortly afterwards on the way to hospital. A colleague of hers who was a passenger in her car at the time, reporter Henry Bastos, escaped unhurt and told police that there was no attempt at robbery, and it is therefore believed that Mora may have been killed because of her reporting.

“We roundly condemn this new murder in Costa Rica,” said Rafael Molina, chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information. Molina, editor of the Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, news magazine Ahora, was referring to an earlier murder in that country – that of Parmenio Medina on July 7, 2001, in which the IAPA has been calling for identification and prosecution of the perpetrators.

Molina welcomed the fact that the Costa Rican authorities have begun immediate inquiries into the latest murder. Members of Costa Rica’s Judicial Investigation Agency on Thursday arrested a man and are now looking into threats that Mora had received recently but had not reported to the police.

Mora was a graduate of the University of Costa Rica and specialized in economic reporting. She wrote for a number of publications in her country and in recent weeks had been working on a relaunch of the magazine Summa, published by a credit card company.

The IAPA is waging a campaign to raise public awareness of impunity surrounding crimes against journalists in numerous publications throughout the Americas. In one of its recent published ads is calls on readers to urge the Costa Rican authorities to bring those responsible for Medina’s murder to justice. For details, visit the Web site www.impunidad.com.