Journalists in the city of Santiago de los Caballeros are all worried for their safety today following yesterday’s attack on José Yordi Veras Rodríguez, the producer and presenter of a discussion programme on privately-owned Boreal Televisión-Canal 25, who was shot in the neck and jaw by an unidentified gunman as he arrived at the TV station.
The TV show host was rushed to a hospital, where doctors said his injuries were not life-threatening. The motive for the shooting is not yet known.
Veras is also a lawyer who sometimes defends sensitive cases, so the motive may have been linked to one of these. The shooting serves as a reminder that, despites its reassuring touristic image, the Dominican Republic continues to be a dangerous country in which journalists who dare to tackle such subjects as drug trafficking or corruption are still exposed to threats, reprisals and physical attacks.
Yesterday’s attack took place shortly after 6 a.m., as Veras was about to park his car outside Boreal Televisión-Canal 25. A hooded man appeared and fired through the driver’s side window. Members of the TV station’s staff rushed him to a hospital where he underwent surgery to his injuries and doctors later said he was out of danger.
It was in Santiago de los Caballeros that Normando García a cameraman with privately-owned Teleunión, was murdered in August 2008. The authorities should respond to this latest shooting by taking energetic measures to protect journalists and media workers. Until now, their response has not been adequate.
Reporters Without Borders hopes that the motive for yesterday’s shooting will be quickly established and that justice will be done.
Veras is the son of Ramón Antonio Veras, a prominent human rights lawyer and opponent of Gen. Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, who ruled the Dominican Republic as dictator from 1930 to 1961.