Rolanda de Jesús García
The right to information
Intimidation, threats, insults, sexual harassment, detention and attempt on freedom of expression.
THE FACTS – On Monday, August 20th, the journalist Rolanda de Jesús García, in the company of members of the Community Development Council (COCODE), was documenting illegal logging on the banks of the Cahabón River for the international television channel, Telesur. This illicit activity was related to Oxec hydroelectric projects. At this time, they were approached by a group of Oxec workers who questioned the presence of cameras on the site and obliged them to leave with insults, sexual harassment and threats that the reporter would be raped and thrown into the river.
Despite the fact that the group was leaving, a group of six men armed with machetes followed them. They isolated Rolanda de Jesús García, and detained her against her will. While she was being held, the Oxec workers repeated their insults and threats, including the threat of rape. They aimed to requisition the material documented by the journalist, which was safe and secure in the hands of a companion. After agreeing, under coercion and threats, not to disseminate the material, Rolanda was able to escape and contact the police in order to file a complaint for the aggression against her.
We of IM-Defensoras and the National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders in Guatemala repudiate and condemn these acts, especially the sexual harassment and threats of rape and feminicide, which specifically had to do with the fact that the journalist is a woman. We demand that the government of Guatemala delineate all judicial and criminal responsibilities that derive from these intolerable acts to assure that impunity does not prevail in this case. We also demand guarantees of protection that will allow the reporter to continue to exercise her profession and her right to freedom of expression and information without enduring any type of coercion.
Lastly, we extend all our support and sisterhood to Rolanda de Jesús García and urge the international community to do the same, as it keeps up with developments in the case.