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Published On: Fri, Oct 26th, 2018

Reporters Without Borders: Radio host Ricardo Welch, aka The Gladiator, murder at his home

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is disturbed to learn Ricardo “The Gladiator” Welch, a former radio show host in Trinidad and Tobago, was shot and killed outside his home on October 19.

Ricardo Welch

The well-known radio personality was pulling out of his driveway in Santa Cruz when a gunman approached the car and shot him at least three times in the chest, according to the Trinidad Express. The gunman was accompanied by two other men. Welch lost control of his vehicle, ran off the road and crashed into a wall upon being shot.

“The death of Ricardo Welch is a devastating loss for the media community in Trinidad and Tobago,” said Margaux Ewen, Director of RSF’s North America bureau. “We urge the authorities to complete a thorough investigation into his killing in order to determine if he was killed in connection with his reporting.”

Welch had worked for a number of radio stations throughout his career, including Pow­er102 FM, and specialized in national current affairs on the island. According to one of RSF’s sources, his reporting was known to make politicians feel uncomfortable, and he had a reputation for seeking recourse in court against his opponents. He emboldened his listeners and colleagues to do the same. Welch made head­lines in April 2017 after suc­cess­ful­ly winning a defama­tion lawsuit against his colleagues at More 104.7 FM, who had accused him of being a homosexual among other claims.

Welch’s death is not the only instance of violence against journalists in Trinidad and Tobago in recent years. In September 2017, multiple photojournalists were physically assaulted while on a reporting assignment involving a local oil company.

Trinidad and Tobago rank 39th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index, after dropping five places last year.

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