Four hostages released this weekend by Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) said at a press conference on Monday that the leftist guerrilla group had declared the Colombian media a "military target," according to Colombian and international news reports. The statement stirred a heated debate among Colombian journalists over coverage of guerrilla groups.
"We are alarmed by the criminal defamation suit brought by a politically influential family against Alfredo Molano over a column in the daily El Espectador," said Carlos Lauria, CPJ's
senior program coordinator. "Criminally prosecuting a journalist sends a chilling message to all Colombian reporters, and is out of step with the region's growing legal consensus that defamation is a civil not a criminal issue." Americas
In a year that saw both an escalation of Colombia's armed conflict and a tentative beginning of peace negotiations, the press found itself in the crosshairs of nearly every party to the increasingly complicated civil war. Five journalists were killed in the line of duty, while scores of others were threatened, attacked, or kidnapped. Colombian journalists, many of whom had tolerated extremely dangerous working conditions for two decades, began leaving the country in unprecedented numbers.
Your Excellency, The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is writing to urge you to investigate the provenance of a pamphlet containing threats against journalists and other intellectuals that started circulating in the streets of Bogotá, Cali, and Medellín earlier this month. The pamphlet, signed "Colombian Rebel Army (ERC)," accuses 21 intellectuals, among them three journalists, of being enemies of Colombia's peace process. The pamphlet reads: "These sinister figures feed the war between Colombians, foment hatred and class struggle, live off the war ... They will pay for the destruction of the peace process."
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.