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


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


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


Alerts   |   Colombia

Colombian intelligence official held in journalist’s murder

New York, June 30, 2010—A former deputy director of the national Colombian intelligence agency has been ordered held for masterminding the 1999 murder of journalist Jaime Garzón. José Miguel Narváez is currently behind bars awaiting trial in a separate case.

June 30, 2010 5:31 PM ET


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


Alerts   |   Colombia

Colombian journalist shot dead by unidentified gunman

(El Meridiano de Cordoba)

New York, March 22, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists urges Colombian authorities to fully investigate the death of journalist Clodomiro Castilla Ospino, left, who was shot on Friday by an unidentified gunman in the northern city of Montería, according to local press reports.

March 22, 2010 5:45 PM ET


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


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


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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