The mounting complaints Colombia is wiretapping journalists

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Colombia’s press freedom foundation FLIP is concerned about mounting claims that the country’s Prosecutor General’s Office is illegally wiretapping journalists.

In a statement, the FLIP said that the recently admitted wiretapping of columnist Vicky Davila, while she was investigating a police-run prostitution ring in 2015 and 2016, has “revived” lingering concerns.

This year alone, three journalists have reported on the alleged wiretapping of multiple journalists, namely those investigating scandals involving former chief prosecutor Nestor Humberto Martinez.

In addition, in the course of this year FLIP has received several reports from journalists who claimed that they have noticed irregularities in the functioning of their cell phones that they associate with illegal interceptions that would be motivated by the journalistic reports they have made.

Foundation for the Freedom of Press

The journalists’ complaints and the media reports indicate that the wiretapping of journalists may not have stopped after Martinez resigned in May, and could be ongoing.


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The FLIP warned that the illegal wiretapping of journalists severely affects their ability to talk to sources and that this violates freedom of expression.

The Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression (RELE) of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has explained that the interception of communications has an inhibitory effect that affects the full exercise of freedom of expression, saying that “without a private space, free from arbitrary interference by the State or individuals, the right to freedom of thought and expression cannot be fully exercised.

Foundation for the Freedom of Press

According to the FLIP, investigations into allegations of illegal wiretapping “do not show significant progress.”

The press freedom foundation said that “under the current circumstances, the country is in dire need of guarantees for a free press. The State, and the security and intelligence agencies, are called upon to act as guarantors of journalistic work.”

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