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Chilling Murder of Venezuelan Journalist

IFJ Demands Urgent Probe after Chilling Murder of Venezuelan Journalist

The International Federation of Journalists and its affiliate in Venezuela, the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Prensa (SNTP), today condemned the killing of photo reporter Jorge Aguirre, who was shot dead in Caracas yesterday by a man pretending to be a policeman.

“This murder is a shocking and chilling reminder of the terrible pressure facing journalists in a country where threats come from organised crime and the authorities”, said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. “We demand that there is an urgent and full investigation and that the killers are brought to justice.”

Jorge Aguirre was attacked while driving to demonstrations in Caracas on Wednesday where protesters were calling on the government to take action against the people who kidnapped 31 people in the country. A person pretending to be a policeman on a motorbike stopped Mr. Aguirre’s car, which was clearly identified as a business car of daily El Mundo, and shot three times. Before he died, Mr. Aguirre managed to take a picture of the back of his killer.

“We mourn the death of Jose Aguirre and we share the grief of his colleagues”, said Aidan White, “and we support them and his family in their demands for justice.” They family, friends and colleagues of Jorge Aguirre organised a march on his memory today in Caracas initiating a three-day period of mourning within media throughout the country.

The IFJ Regional Office in Caracas will be among those joining the demonstrations and calling for action by the police and judicial authorities.

The IFJ annual report on killing of journalists issued earlier this year reported that journalists are regularly targeted by the organised crime in Venezuela as in other countries in Latin America. “This latest killing confirms our fears for the region,” said White. “We insist that the government act quickly to end impunity for people who threaten or kill journalists. A serious investigation that brings the criminals responsible to justice is vital.”

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