Colombia

2010


Reports   |   Afghanistan, Belarus, Brazil, Cameroon, Colombia, Honduras, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Lebanon, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Somalia, Thailand, Yemen

As bombings spread, Pakistan deadliest nation

At least 42 journalists are killed in 2010 as two trends emerge. Suicide attacks and violent street protests cause an unusually high proportion of deaths. And online journalists are increasingly prominent among the victims. A CPJ special report

A December suicide attack in Pakistan's Mohmand tribal district claimed the lives of two journalists. (Reuters/Umar Qayyum)

Blog   |   Colombia

In Colombia, gang threats force reporter to flee

Colombian authorities seize a Los Paisas weapons cache in August 2009. (Reuter/Fredy Amariles) My chance encounter last year with Los Paisas, a criminal gang that operates in northern Colombia, began a nightmare that continues today. I was heading to an assignment in a tourist area south of Montería on July 9, 2009, when Los Paisas gang members blocked my car. The gang was meeting with local landowners nearby--and journalists were not welcome.

September 3, 2010 2:10 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Colombia, Venezuela

Colombia nabs alleged mastermind in Sambrano murder

Notitarde/Jacinto Oliveros

New York, August 23, 2010--The alleged mastermind in the 2009 murder of Venezuelan journalist Orel Sambrano, at left, was arrested Thursday in Colombia and is now facing extradition to Venezuela, local and international press reported.

Colombian authorities arrested Walid Makled García in the city of Cúcuta, near the border with Venezuela, according to news reports. A warrant was issued in 2008 for Makled in Venezuela on drug trafficking charges. Venezuelan authorities issued warrants for him last year in connection to Sambrano's murder and for allegedly participating in the 2009 killing of a local veterinarian, The Associated Press reported.

August 23, 2010 4:50 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Colombia

Colombian attorney general says car bomb targeted station

Emergency workers at the blast scene. (AP/William Fernando Martinez)

New York, August 12, 2010--A car bomb exploded early this morning outside the building of national Caracol Radio in the capital city of Bogotá, causing serious damage and injuring at least nine people, local new reports said. President Juan Manuel Santos, who took office on Saturday, described the explosion as "a terrorist act," and said it was intended to create a climate of fear. Attorney General Guillermo Mendoza said the attack was aimed at the radio station, during an interview with Caracol. "It is an act of intimidation against the media," Mendoza said without providing any specifics.

August 12, 2010 4:43 PM ET

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Blog   |   Colombia, Security, USA

Hollman Morris, labeled 'terrorist,' finally Harvard-bound

Courtesy Hollman Morris

For a month, U.S.
officials in Bogotá told Colombian journalist Hollman Morris that his request for a U.S.
visa to study at Harvard as a prestigious Nieman
Fellow
had been denied on grounds relating to terrorist activities as
defined by the U.S. Patriot Act, and that the decision was permanent and that there were no grounds for appeal. It was the first time in the storied history
of the Nieman
Foundation
that a journalist had been prohibited from traveling not by his
own nation, such as, say, South Africa’s apartheid regime back in 1960, but by
ours, noted
Nieman Curator Bob Giles
in the Los Angeles Times.

July 27, 2010 4:35 PM ET

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Letters   |   Colombia, USA

CPJ urges Clinton to reconsider Morris visa denial

Dear Secretary Clinton: We are writing to express our deep concern about the U.S. State Department’s denial of a visa that would enable prominent Colombian journalist Hollman Morris to participate in a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University. The denial, based on a “terrorist activities” provision of the Patriot Act, is unsupported by any available evidence and may be based on misleading or inaccurate information provided by Colombian authorities.

July 13, 2010 2:03 PM ET

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Blog   |   Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, Venezuela

CPJ testimony: Press freedom in the Americas

CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon testified today before the U.S. House of Representatives' Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, saying that while democracies are prevalent in Latin America, the press continues to operate with few institutional protections. This statement was submitted into the record on Monday.

Blog   |   Colombia

Decree limited Colombian presidential vote coverage

The government barred some news coverage of the first round of voting, won by Juan Manuel Santos. (AP/Fernando Vergara)

Among the regulations for Colombia’s presidential election on Sunday, the government barred the press from publishing Election Day news about alleged voter harassment or other irregularities unless it was confirmed by an official source. Local press groups said the rule limited important information on the very sort of illegal actions that have beset Colombian elections in the past. Juan Manuel Santos, a former defense minister and ally of President Álvaro Uribe, outpaced Green Party candidate Antanas Mockus by a wide margin in the Sunday balloting but fell short of a majority, sending the race to a June 20 runoff.

May 31, 2010 3:23 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Colombia

Investigation stalls in Colombian journalist’s murder

New York, May 24, 2010—Two months after the murder of Colombian journalist Clodomiro Castilla Ospino, the investigation is stalled and the victim’s daughter has been forced to flee her hometown of Montería after being followed and harassed. The Committee to Protect Journalists called on authorities today to conduct an exhaustive inquiry into Castilla’s killing, provide protection for his family, and bring those responsible to justice.  

May 24, 2010 3:07 PM ET

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Blog   |   CPJ, Colombia, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia

Impunity Summit: Solidarity in fighting journalist murders

María Teresa Ronderos and Sergei Sokolov at CPJ's Impunity Summit at Columbia. (CPJ)

Every day at CPJ, we count numbers: 18 journalists killed in Russia since 2000, 32 journalists and media workers slaughtered in the Maguindanao massacre, 88 journalists murdered over the last 10 years in Iraq. But on Tuesday night at CPJ’s Impunity Summit at Columbia University, CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon clarified why we were gathered: “At the end of the day, it’s not about numbers,” he said. “It’s about people.”

Reports   |   Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Colombia, India, Iraq, Mexico, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Somalia, Sri Lanka

Getting Away With Murder

CPJ’s 2010 Impunity Index spotlights countries
where journalists are slain and killers go free



New York, April 20, 2010—Deadly, unpunished violence against the press has soared in the Philippines and Somalia, the Committee to Protect Journalists has found in its newly updated Impunity Index, a list of countries where journalists are killed regularly and governments fail to solve the crimes. Impunity in journalist murders also rose significantly in Russia and Mexico, two countries with long records of entrenched, anti-press violence.

Blog   |   Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Peru

Fighting impunity with solidarity, unity, and a symbol

We will not make significant advances in the battle against crimes against journalists and the impunity surrounding them without the creation of a sense of unity and solidarity among a country’s news media and journalists. Nor will the cause advance without a strategy by international press freedom organizations to provide support for those two values.

Reports   |   Brazil, Colombia, Multimedia, Philippines, Russia

Audio Report: Getting Away With Murder




In our special report, “Getting Away With Murder” CPJ names and shames countries where journalists are killed regularly and governments are unable or unwilling to solve the crimes. Here, María Salazar-Ferro explains CPJ's Impunity Index, detailing what nations are failing and which ones are showing improvement. Listen to the mp3 on the player above, or right click here to download. (2:27) 

April 20, 2010 12:01 AM ET

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Blog   |   Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica

Latin America takes steps against criminal defamation

(Elpais.com.co)

In an encouraging development, three courts in Colombia, Costa Rica, and Chile have recently followed the growing regional consensus against criminal defamation by dismissing criminal penalties against journalists accused of libel and slander.

The newsweekly magazine Semana reported that a piece written by Alfredo Molano, at left, in the op-ed pages of the Bogota-based daily El Espectador in February 2007 described how the members of a family in Cartagena and Valledupar had undue influence in private businesses and public offices in the country’s Caribbean region.

Alerts   |   CPJ, Colombia

Uribe to CPJ, FLIP: 'Illegal spies are enemies of Colombia'

Uribe (AP)

Bogotá, February 17, 2010—Colombian  President Alvaro Uribe Vélez said on Tuesday that those who illegally spy on the press are “enemies of his government” during a meeting with a delegation from the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Foundation for Freedom of the Press (FLIP). 

Uribe issued the statement at the urging of the CPJ and FLIP delegation, which met with the president and top government officials including Vice President Francisco Santos; Minister of Interior Fabio Valencia Cossio; Felipe Muñoz, the director of national intelligence, or DAS; the director of the national police, General Oscar Naranjo Trujillo; and other high-ranking officials in a two-hour-long meeting at the presidential palace, known as Casa Nariño.

February 17, 2010 2:17 PM ET

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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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