RSF calls prison sentence for libel against Dominican Republic reporter "dangerous" and "disproportionate"
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) called a Dominican Republic journalist's six-month prison sentence for slander and libel dangerous and disproportionate.
The charges against Johnny Alberto Salazar, director of the community radio station Vida FM and the website vidadominicana.com in the city of Nagua, originated with accusations the reporter made against the lawyer Pedro Baldera, president of the Human Rights Committee for the province of María Trinidad Sánchez. Salazar said that the lawyer was "protecting delinquents and people linked to organized crime," according to Terra.
On Jan. 18, 2012, the journalist was sentenced to six months in prison and fined more than $25,000, reported Noticias SIN.
President of the Union of Dominican Journalists, Aurelio Henríquez was concerned about the sentence, saying it was a "grave attack on the free exercise of journalism in a democratic society," reported El Nuevo Diario. Henríquez also said that the sentence violated the right to freedom of expression, according to the newspaper Ciudad Oriental.
The sentence against Salazar, which he plans to appeal, according to the newspaper El Nacional, has created a wave of support for the journalist in Nagua, calling on Dominicans and foreigners to raise money to help pay the reporter's fine, according to vidadominicana.com.
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