Journalist group protests firing at university paper

The journalist professional organization has taken up the cause of the director of the newspaper  Semanario Universidad at the Universidad de Costa Rica.

The director, Laura Martínez, has been fired by the new university rector, and the Colegio de Periodistas says naming her replacement should be done by the university council and taken out of the hands of the rector.

It protested the firing.

The rector is Henning Jensen, and he took over the job in mid-May.

The weekly newspaper, El Seminario, should retain its independence, said the Colegio in a statement by its board of directors.

The statement also said that the job should not be a political one, particularly now that the country is nearing a presidential election.

El Seminario has had some journalistic successes. For example, it was the first publication to report that the Óscar Arias Sánchez administration was considering punishing politicians who did not support the free trade treaty with the United States.

That revelation cost Kevin Casas his job as vice president.

The rector’s job is one that is filled by a university election. Jensen visited with members of the Colegio before the vote and promised to name professionals to communication jobs, said the colegio as it claimed that he had betrayed that promise.

The university newspaper reprinted the Colegio’s statement on its Web site without comment.

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