Posted by Adriaan Alsema on May 11, 2013 Leave a comment

Journalist assassinated in southwestern Colombia

Journalist assassinated in southwestern Colombia

Alberto Lázaro del Valle (Photo: El Pais)

A journalist from a local radio station in the southwestern Colombian city of Cali was assassinated Friday, further exposing the delicate security situation of local journalists.

According to reports, Alberto Lazaro del Valle was fatally shot while leaving work at Radio Cadena, a franchise of nationwide local radio stations he managed.

Two men reportedly opened fire on the journalist after which they fled in a taxi.

The victim, who was shot seven times,  was immediately taken to a nearby hospital where he died of his injuries.

Del Valle had been a journalist in Cali for the past 30 years and, according to national newspaper El Tiempo, was “one of the best voices of Cali.” Colombian press freedom foundation FLIP said there had been no records of threats against the journalist.

The assassination was condemned by local authorities who offered a $27,000  reward for information leading to the perpetrators of the homicide.

“We have several hypotheses … We hope to have results very soon,” Cali Police commander Colonel Nelson Rincon told Cali newspaper El Pais.

The homicide happened less than 10 days after a failed assassination attempt of one of Colombia’s most renowned investigative reporters in central Colombia and less than a week after death threats were sent to eight journalists in the north of the country.

MORE: Senior Colombian investigative journalist survives assassination attempt
MORE: ‘Anti-Land Restitution Army’ threatens journalists in northern Colombia

The violence spurred international response from press freedom and human rights organizations calling on Colombian authorities to effectively investigate the killings.

MORE: Colombia remains one of the most dangerous countries for journalists: Press freedom NGO

According to the FLIP, more than 55 journalists have had their press freedom violated so far this year. Thirty of them received death threats. Del Valle’s death is the first of a journalist since 2010.

Location of the killing