Dominican Republic: Proposed law would fine, jail “unqualified” journalists

Mandatory membership to a professional body for journalists has been proposed in the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Journalism Guild (CDP) proposed mandatory membership which would penalise those who act as journalists without relevant degrees with prison sentences and fines of approximately $25,700 (£16,300). The draft bill suggests that media organisations would be able to freely contract employees, but only those with bachelors degrees or the equivalent from an “accredited school of journalism” would be employed as journalists. The CDP would also provide the media with a list of employable journalism graduates, according to the bill.

Dominican Republic: Radio reporter becomes first journalist facing jail for libel

Radio journalist Johnny Alberto Salazar has been found guilty of libelling a lawyer, he is the first journalist to be jailed for defamation in the Dominican Republic. Salazar made comments on his radio station about local murders and said that lawyer Pedro Baldera Gomez, who works for the Human Rights Commission of Nagua, had defended a number of thieves in the area. Salazar has been ordered to pay a one million Dominican Peso (approx. 16,705 GBP) fine and spend six months in jail.

Dominican Republic: TV reporter kidnapped, murdered

TV reporter José Agustín Silvestre was kidnapped, shot and killed on 2nd August in La Romana, Dominican Republic. Local papers have claimed his murder is connected to accusations he had made regarding corruption and local delinquency on his programme, The Voice of Truth. Silvestre had also served a prison sentence in May for defamation and slander after accusing a city prosecutor of having drug trafficking connections. The Inter American Press Association called 2011 “the most tragic year in the last two decades for Latin American press” in a report published last month. Silvestre is the 20th reporter to have been killed in the region this year.