- Press Release, Special Envoy for Women and Children - Message from Kim Simplis Barrow, First Lady of Belize - On September 6, 2017, frightening images were seen on national television of the unacceptable treatment of a female journalist by law enforcement officers. The journalist in question, Ms. Marisol Amaya of KREM News, was conducting an interview when she was assaulted by a police officer. Sadly, this is not the first time that Ms. Amaya, in her capacity as a journalist, has been disrespected in plain view on national television.
As a citizen, I embrace the concept of a free press, given the role of journalists in a democratic society. The rights of journalists are enshrined in the Belize Constitution (Chapter 4), and they must therefore be afforded all rights and privileges as citizens of Belize.
Journalists should not be subjected to inhumane treatment by anyone, least of all, law enforcement officers! Ms. Amaya is a woman, mother, sister, a daughter and a journalist. I join the wider society in condemning the assault made upon her person by police officers. This reduces the image of our country and contravenes all efforts being made by many agencies to end violence against our women.
I will be convening a meeting with the Press Corps and policy makers within the Police Department to establish guidelines that will restore good working relations between both parties. We must continue to promote zero tolerance to violence in our communities, families and to our women!
KREM’s Editor, Marisol Amaya, was attacked by a ranking police officer during a PUP peaceful protest in Orange Walk on Wednesday, September 8, 2017. After the rally ended in Orange Walk Town, the protestors moved to the Tower Hill Bridge and blocked the bridge. Members of the media covered the event as officers attempted to remove a vehicle blocking the road. Failing to comply, the officers fired tear gas into the crowd of protesters and media. It was during all the comotion that KREM Editor, Marisol Amaya, was thown to the ground by an officer.