Two radio reporters murdered live on air
Dominican Republic radio host Luis Manuel Medina killed Tuesday during Facebook Live broadcast pic.twitter.com/7h7WPkSQtQ— Insight Reader (@Insightreaderr) February 16, 2017
On 14th February, two journalists were murdered in San Pedro de Macorís, east of the country's capital, Santo Domingo. According to local media, a person entered the FM 103.5 radio station and shot journalist Luis Manuel Medina and newsreader Leo Martínez while they were reading a morning bulletin for their show Milenio Caliente (Hot Millennium). Both reporters died at the scene, and the radio station's secretary, Dayana García, was seriously injured. The first few shots were captured on a Facebook Live video of the broadcast.
According to The Guardian, Milenio Caliente was well-respected for its coverage of social and political issues, its diverse opinions and its refusal to shy away from controversial topics: listeners are encouraged to call in or even turn up at the station to condemn local drug pushers, dishonest businesses or problems accessing health services.
The murderer's motive has not yet been identified nor has it been linked to the victims' work. The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) called on the authorities to carry out a speedy and in-depth investigation to discover the motive, identify those responsible and hold them accountable.
The Ministry of Economy, Planning and Development (MEPyD) confirmed the implementation of new regulations that will control the operation and finances of 7,238 service delivery NGOs in the Dominican Republic. According to the authorities, the new regulations are meant to facilitate NGOs' efforts and guarantee their compliance with Law 122-05. The National Centre for the Development and Promotion of Non-for-Profit Associations, a section of the MEPyD, will be responsible for implementing the new regulations, which deal with accountability issues, funding applications and access to the information stored in the recently-created Management System. Registered CSOs have already been called to choose candidates before 3rd March for the upcoming election of their five assigned representatives on the National Monitoring Council.
A so-called Green March (La Marcha Verde) against corruption and impunity was held on 22nd January in Santo Domingo. An estimated 200,000 people participated in what was considered to be the largest peaceful march in the country's history. Just before they reached the Dominican presidential palace, demonstrators were forced off their planned route and into smaller streets by police forces. Thus, the protesters were prevented from passing directly in front of the government building.
While citizens marched in Santo Domingo, a parallel demonstration took place in New York City. The protest follows an investigation by the US Justice Department into suspected bribes totaling US$785 million paid by the Brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht in 12 countries. The demonstrators marching in Santo Domingo and New York demanded that Dominican government officials suspected of receiving bribes from the Brazilian company be held accountable for their actions.
On 5th February, civil society organisations began the collection of signatures to demand that the government form an independent committee to investigate the Oderbrecht case and hold a trial for those who benefited from the extensive bribes paid.