Another female journalist dies, the fourth this week

The death this Thursday of Francisca Sandoval, who was shot in the head on May 1 while reporting on a demonstration for Labor Day, is the first in Chile of a journalist in the exercise of his work since he finished in 1990 dictatorship and democracy returned.

She is also the fourth female journalist to die this week. On Monday, the director of the newspaper The Truthful, Yesenia Mollinedo, and reporter Sheila Johana García were shot to death in the state of Veracruz. Both were inside their vehicle parked at the door of a store when several armed men arrived and shot them. Finally, they bled to death from multiple wounds. And this Wednesday, the Palestinian Al-Jazeera journalist was killed while she was covering an Israeli Army raid in the West Bank city of Jenin.

The Chilean Francisca Sandoval, who reported for the local media Channel 3 Victorywas shot in the skull during the disturbances generated in the Meiggs neighborhood by violent groups, apparently linked to the mafias that operate in the area and that take advantage of both street vending and the exploitation of migrants.

Days later, members of the State security forces arrested the alleged perpetrator of the shot, identified as Marcelo Naranjo, who remains in preventive detention and could be charged with intentional homicide.

The informant remained hospitalized for 12 days, fighting for her life, until this Thursday medical sources confirmed the death.

About thirty murders in dictatorship

There are numerous cases of death or disappearance of Chilean journalists in office during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990), which in 17 years left 3,200 murdered and at least 1,192 detainees disappeared, but none confirmed in the more than 30 years of democracy that followed. .

According to the Ibero-American Observatory for Freedom of Expression and the Press (Oilep), a total of 37 journalists were murdered during the military regime, including several students.

The death of Jonathan Moyle, a British publisher who was found dead just days after democracy was installed in a hotel room in Santiago, where he traveled to attend the International Air and Space Fair, is also still being investigated.

During the social outbreak of 2019, a wave of massive protests for equality never seen in democracy, 138 cases of violations of freedom of expression were reported, 90 of which were attacks on journalists with riot gear, according to a report from the University From Chile.

That same year, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) called for an investigation into the death of independent photographer Albertina Martínez, whose body was found dead at her home in Santiago de Chile, but the sentence published this Thursday indicates that the murder was motivated by a theft.

The RSF assures that “although freedom of the press is guaranteed in the Constitution (…) it is not always respected in practice” and “aggressions against journalists are multiplying”, which caused Chile to fall from position 54 to 82 in the press freedom ranking this year.

Latin America was the scene of the murder of a dozen journalists in 2021, eight of them in Mexico, according to the International Federation of Journalists, a scourge from which Chile was safe until today.


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