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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Professional association leaders: Figures named in payola scheme are not journalists


The presidents of the Association of Journalists of Puerto Rico and the Overseas Press Club, Damaris Suárez Lugo and Luis Guardiola, respectively, said Sunday that the people named in the federal trial for alleged acts of extortion involving producer Sixto Jorge Díaz Colón are not journalists.

“Journalists abide by codes of ethics and conduct that would make it unacceptable for us to lend ourselves to the practices that Sixto ‘George’ engaged in with other radio and television personalities,” the two journalists said in a joint statement. “The people mentioned so far work in the media in other roles, as announcers, entertainers, commentators, etc., not as journalists.

Not everyone who appears in front of a television camera or behind a microphone in a radio booth is a journalist. In the media there coexists a wide variety of types of programs, such as talk shows, entertainment, drama and game shows, and among them is the news format. Many people are unaware of that difference and think that all artists, models and public figures in the media are journalists. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

During the first week of the trial, it came to light through the testimony of former Public Affairs Secretary Anthony Maceira Zayas that Díaz Colón told him that he could use radio presenters and “influencers” to change the negative narrative received by the administration of then-Gov. Ricardo Rosselló Nevares.

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