Journalists’ organization calls on Colombia’s presidential winner to protect press freedom

Posted on May 22 2014 - 11:38pm by TNN
(Photo: Vanguardia)

Journalist’s rights organization Reporters Without Borders has asked Colombia’s presidential candidates to address problems facing the press in Colombia, such as threats to freedom of speech.In an open letter published on their website on Wednesday, the organization reminded the candidates of the “crucial importance for the public interest of what journalists do” and emphasized the need to guarantee their security at all times in order to ensure a peaceful democratic climate.”

The letter was addressed to the five presidential candidates: Juan Manuel Santos, Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, Clara Lopez, Marta Lucia Ramirez and Enrique Peñalosa.

“It is essential that the presidential candidates should undertake to end the impunity enjoyed by those responsible for threats, physical attacks and murders targeting journalists in Colombia.”

“The successful presidential candidate must treat media freedom and the fight against impunity for crimes of violence against journalists as priorities for Colombia,” said Reporters without Borders in the letter.

According to Journalist without Borders, Colombia is ranked on the 126th place out of 180 countries for impunity for crimes of violence against journalists.

Colombia remains among the most dangerous places in the world to practice journalism, according to a new report released earlier this year by a national NGO.

The Foundation for the Liberation of the Press’ (FLIP) review of 2013 portrays a diverse set of professional obstacles and targeted violence that continues to complicate and endanger the work of journalists active in the Andean nation.

Colombia, the report claimed, is the country with the fifth lowest level of prosecutions against those perpetrating crimes against journalists.

MORE: Attacks, impunity still threaten journalism in Colombia: NGO

According to Journalists Without Borders, there have been registered 19 murders of journalists in Colombia in the past 12 years and only one case was investigated and closed, for the rest of them no one was held responsible. This is why “It is essential that the presidential candidates should undertake to end the impunity enjoyed by those responsible for threats, physical attacks and murders targeting journalists in Colombia”.

The open letter recalls the recent incidents that took place in Colombia against journalist. One of them is the arrest of Esteban Vanegas, a photographer for Colombian newspaper El Colombiano, was covering the May 1 marches in Medellin when he was arrested in San Antonio Park just after midday, and taken in an armored police vehicle to a detention center.

According to the Foundation for Freedom of the Press (FLIP) in 2013 there were more than 40 attacks on journalists covering social protests reported within a period of only 90 days. “This shows that during the demonstrations, correspondents face several risks, such as being physically assaulted, arrest, and even death.”

MORE: Colombia Foundation for Press Freedom issues warning to reporters

Sources

The post Journalists’ organization calls on Colombia’s presidential winner to protect press freedom appeared first on Colombia News | Colombia Reports.