UNESCO Director-General denounces murder of journalists Danilo López and Federico Salazar in Guatemala

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova condemned the murder of journalists Danilo López and Federico Salazar, who were killed in the city of Mazatenango in Guatemala on Tuesday 10 March. The two men were with a group of other journalists in a public plaza when unidentified gunmen opened fire. A third journalist, Marvin Tunches of Canal Óptimo, was wounded in the attack.

            “The cold-blooded murder of Danilo Lopez and Federico Salazar must not go unpunished,” the Director-General said. “Press freedom and freedom of expression are backbones to democratic societies, where citizens can count on being kept informed, where they have a voice. Defending these rights means journalists must be able to work without fearing for their lives. Criminals must know that their acts will be punished.”


            Danilo Lopez was the local correspondent for Prensa Libre, and Federico Salazar reported for Radio Nuevo Mundo. They were, respectively vice-president and secretary of the recently created Suchitepequez Press Association.


            The Director-General of UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled “Condemnation of Violence against Journalists.” These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists.

Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, s.coudray(at),  +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12

UNESCO is the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”