Anastasia Mejía Tiriquiz

Activity The right to information and freedom of expression Organization Xol Abaj Radio and Xol Abaj TV

THE FACTS – On Tuesday afternoon, September 22, Agents of the Specialized Division of Criminal Investigation arrested journalist Anastasia Mejía Tiriquiz and Petrona Siy Castro in the town of Joyabaj, Quiché, in Guatemala. The arrest was published in the twitter account of the National Civilian Police (PNC).

Anastasía Mejía, the Director of Xol Abaj Radio and Xol Abaj TV, is charged with the crimes of sedition, attack with specific aggravating factors, aggravated arson and aggravated robbery. These charges may stem from coverage by these channels of incidents that took place in Joyabaj last August 24, when townspeople held a demonstration against the town Mayor, accusing him of acts of corruption in the management of aid for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The arrest warrant issued by the criminal court of Santa Cruz del Quiché also contains the names of ten other people charged with the same crimes, three of which are women. Furthermore, the District Attorney ordered the search and inspection, registry and seizure of evidence in the home of Petrona Siy, the site of a bakery, as well as the search of the radio station Xol Abaj, located in the home of Anastasia Mejía. 

The journalist has been subjected to defamation and disparagement in social networks, including accusations that she is running a “pirate radio station”, among other messages filled with hate speech against her.  

Anastasia Mejía is a Maya K’iche journalist who has long been engaged in reporting local corruption; thus, her work is critical in denouncing official abuses and guaranteeing access to information for townspeople.

We of IM-Defensoras and the  K’iche People’s Council (CPK) condemn the criminalization of the exercise of freedom of expression and of the right to information. We demand the immediate release of journalist Anastasia Mejía and an end to any judicial action whatsoever against her and other persons charged in this case.  

[WHRD Alert] GUATEMALA / Maya K’iche journalist Anastasia Mejía target of arrest, criminalization, smear campaign and home search

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