Diego de Jesús Rojas Velásquez

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Alerts   |   Colombia

Veteran TV reporter shot dead in central Colombia

New York, September 24, 2009—Veteran television journalist Diego de Jesús Rojas Velásquez was gunned down Tuesday outside the central Colombian city of Supía, according to interviews and press reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Colombian authorities to thoroughly investigate the killing.

September 24, 2009 1:47 PM ET

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  |   Colombia, Unconfirmed

Diego de Jesús Rojas Velásquez

Diego de Jesús Rojas Velásquez, a reporter and cameraman for the Supía-based community station Supía TV in central Caldas province, left the station’s studio around 6 p.m. after receiving a purported tip about an unspecified story, according to news reports and CPJ interviews. Shortly after, authorities found his body with four gunshot wounds on a highway connecting Caldas to the neighboring Antioquia province, local and international news reports said.

Witnesses told reporters that they heard Rojas arguing with several unidentified individuals prior to the gunshots. Investigators found his motorcycle with the keys in the ignition near the scene of the crime, the regional daily La Patria reported.

Rojas, 52, worked as a journalist in Supía for more than 30 years, colleagues said. Juan Carlos Taborda, Supía TV’s director, told La Patria that he covered sports and social news, but did not report on sensitive issues. Local police and family members said he had not received any threats, the Spanish news service EFE reported. The journalist had also worked for the regional TV station Cable Unión and contributed occasionally to local dailies.

Supía Mayor Germán Ovidio Tobón said investigators believed the killing was linked to Rojas’ personal life, the national daily El Tiempo reported. Colombian authorities offered a 15 million peso (US$7,100) reward.

September 22, 2009 10:21 AM ET

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