Colombia

2010

Blog   |   Colombia

Colombian government tells CPJ it 'rejects' illegal spying

Left to right: Morales, Ronderos, Lauría, Gomez (Mauricio Esguerra)

Shortly after arriving in Bogotá to launch Attacks on the Press, I realized the Colombian government was well aware of our concerns about illegal espionage against the media. Top government officials, including President Alvaro Uribe Vélez, had confirmed meetings with a delegation from CPJ and the local press freedom group Foundation for Freedom of the Press (FLIP) to discuss the findings of our annual report on the government's interception of phone conversations and e-mails (including some involving CPJ) and its surveillance of Colombian journalists.

February 16, 2010 6:19 PM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Mexico, USA, Venezuela

In the Americas, Big Brother is watching reporters

Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez appears at a press conference with military leaders to announce the end of unlawful spying. (AP/Fernando Vergara)By Carlos Lauría

The topic being investigated by two Colombian reporters was explosive enough that it required unusual security. Fearful that the subjects would learn prematurely of the story, the reporters took separate notes, which they did not share and which they later destroyed. They didn’t communicate by telephone or e-mail, and they met only in public locations. They relayed only the barest information to their own sources.
February 16, 2010 12:56 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   Colombia

Attacks on the Press 2009: Colombia

Top Developments
• Provincial journalists face threats from all sides in civil conflict.
• Convictions gained in one journalist murder; progress reported in other cases.

Key Statistic
2003: Year that national intelligence agents began spying on journalists and other critics.


The strained relationship between the government and the Bogotá-based independent press worsened after news media revealed that the national intelligence agency had been spying on leading critics, including journalists. The press continued to be caught in the middle of the ongoing civil conflict as officials made loaded accusations and far-right paramilitary and leftist guerrilla groups terrorized provincial reporters. In an important step in the fight against impunity, a court convicted the masterminds in a 2003 journalist killing. While CPJ research has shown a gradual decline in journalist murders over the last five years, one reporter was slain in reprisal for his work in 2009.

February 16, 2010 12:43 AM ET

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