Colombia ended third to last of Latin American countries in the Press Freedom Index, published annually by press organization Reporters Without Borders.
Latin America Press Freedom Index
Globally, Colombia occupied the 129th spot of 180, which is a slight improvement compared to 2013 when the South American country stood at 129 of 179.
The journalist organization blamed Colombia’s low position in the index to the ongoing conflict involving the state, left-wing guerrilla groups and right-wing paramilitary groups.
Additionally, the NGO said that in Colombia and the neighboring Peru “covering drug trafficking, corruption, land conflicts or mining conflicts exposes journalists to reprisals.”
Reporters without Borders showed skepticism towards a possible improvement of press freedom in Colombia in the event of a peace accord between the state and the country’s largest rebel group, the FARC as other illegal armed groups like the Urabeños and Rastrojos will continue to pose a threat to journalists.
“There is a slim but real hope of an imminent peace accord between the Colombian government and the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Nonetheless, even if the hope is realized, it will leave the narco-paramilitaries, a side-product of the civil war, still in place. How many journalists, trade unions, human rights lawyers and civil society activists have been subjected to often deadly harassment and pressure from reconstituted paramilitary units such as the Urabeños or Rastrojos?”
The NGO also criticized the concentration of media ownership in the South American country, claiming that in certain countries in Latin America there exists an “incestuous links between the dominant media and the power centers that dictate the political agenda.”
The annual press freedom index is compiled partly based on a questionnaire that is sent to local press freedom organizations. This questionnaire focuses on a number of variables that can affect press freedom, like pluralism, media independence, self-censorship, legal impediments, transparency and the general media infrastructure.
- 2014 World Press Freedom Index (Reporters without Borders)