Reporters Without Borders hopes for quick results from the investigation into journalist Fausto Valdivieso’s murder yesterday in Guayaquil. The motive is not yet known but press reports quoted local sources as saying he had been the target of a murder attempt 24 hours earlier and had received threats.
A former employee of privately-owned TV stations Ecuavisa, Teleamazonas and TC Televisión, Valdivieso still worked intermittently as an independent journalist while pursuing business activities and acting as a PR consultant. Aged 52, he was the father of three children.
“Valdivieso continued to report news developments on social networks and a small online TV station so his murder may have been linked to journalistic activities,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We ask the investigators to take this possibility into account.”
He was the second journalist to be murdered in Ecuador in the past 10 months, following the photographer Byron Baldeón, who was killed near Guayaquil on 1 July 2012.
Valdivieso has just got into his car after visiting his mother in the Guayaquil district of Atarazana when a masked gunmen went up to him and shot him three times. He was rushed to a nearby hospital but attempts revive him were unsuccessful. It was Atarazana residents who said there had been an attempt to kill him the day before.
He joins the long list of journalists killed in the western hemisphere since the start of the year. Three have been killed in Brazil, two in Guatemala and one each in Haiti, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela.
According to Reporters Without Borders’ monitoring, a link with the victim’s work as a journalist has so far been established in four of these cases (see the press freedom barometer on the Reporters Without Borders website).
Outside photo: El Comercio