September 26, 2022

Press Freedom

Dominican Republic

Press Freedom Organizations Raise Alarm About Threats to Journalists in Dominican Republic and Central Romana

August 15, 2022
Jorge Sturla Ferrer
Director de Relaciones Públicas
Central Romana Corporation
La Romana, República Dominicana 22003
j.sturla@crcltd.com.do

Dear Mr. Sturla:

We are a group of news and press advocacy organizations in the United States that have previously worked with or assisted a journalist who has previously provided reporting on Central Romana. We write to notify you about some alarming information we have received over the past year, involving threats made to this reporter and ask for your cooperation with this matter.

In 2021, Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting and Mother Jones, two of the oldest nonprofit news organizations in the United States, co-published the stories, titled “The Bitter Work Behind Sugar” and “The High Human Cost of America’s Sugar Habit” covering various aspects of the sugar industry in the Dominican Republic and Central Romana. Ten days after the co-publication of those stories, our organizations were alerted about numerous credible threats of death made against a reporter contributing to those stories. As I’m sure you can imagine we were alarmed by this news. I know you must be as well.

The hostile signals sent by these incidents can have a perilous chilling effect on newsgathering and thus on the flow of information, involving important reporting. Moreover, these threats against bodily safety only sharpen the already acute physical risks investigative journalists face doing important reporting around the world.

To address this situation, we have spoken with U.S. officials and press advocacy organizations over the past year and are now contacting you to notify you about these threats and ask that if you have any information about them or any relevant information that you please share it with us to help us ensure the safety of this and other reporters. While we will be closely monitoring the situation, ensuring the location and health of this reporter, we urge you to support us in protecting the basic rights of reporters.

Please do not hesitate to contact D. Victoria Baranetsky, General Counsel of The Center for Investigative Reporting with any questions at vbaranetsky@revealnews.org. We appreciate your attention as we try to secure safety for our individuals.

Sincerely,

General Counsel, The Center for Investigative Reporting
On Behalf of:
The Center for Investigative Reporting
Mother Jones
Overseas Press Club of America
Pulitzer Center