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Dominican Republic investigators need to conduct a full investigation into the murder of two media workers killed yesterday when unidentified gunmen entered the radio station where they worked and opened fire, the International Press Institute (IPI) said.

Presenter Luis Manuel Medina with radio station FM 103.5 in San Pedro de Macoris, 75 kilometres east of the country’s capital Santo Domingo, was reading the news on Facebook Live for his program Milenio Caliente at approximately 11:25 a.m. when the gunmen opened fire.

Medina and a producer, Leo Martínez, were both killed, while station secretary Dayaba García was injured and needed surgery. In the transmission of the show, gunfire and a woman screaming “Tiros, tiros, tiros!” (“shots” in Spanish) could be heard before the stream cut off.

Milenio Caliente is a popular local radio programme that covers political analysis and social campaigns as well as playing contemporary music. Recently, the show had criticised pollution in Laguna Mallen, a protected lake in San Pedro.

The radio station’s studios are inside a shopping mall. Police said today that they had arrested three men in connection with the crime and were reviewing mall surveillance tapes, but that no motive was yet known.

IPI Director of Advocacy and Communications Steven M. Ellis noted that while journalists in the Dominican Republic often face harassment and intimidation, particularly when covering organised crime, deaths directly linked to a journalists’ work were relatively rare.

“It is imperative that authorities conduct a full, swift and transparent investigation into this brazen attack and send a clear signal that those who target journalists will be brought to justice,” he said.