Three journalists were murdered in Colombia so far this year, according to figures from Swiss NGO Press Emblem Campaign (PEC). The death toll for the first six months of 2010 is already higher that for the whole of 2009, when two killings were reported.
The organization found Latin America to be the region with the most violence against the press, with 24 journalists killed in the six month period.
“Journalists are very vulnerable in many countries with internal problems. Governments and the international community must take stronger action to prevent such deaths and punish those responsible,” Lempen stated.
The NGO’s findings echo a March report by UNESCO, which highlighted threats to journalists in Colombia, with four reporters killed in the country in the last four years. This is higher than Brazil, which had three murders over the period; El Salvador, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Venezuela, which each had two; and Honduras which had one.
This figure represents an improvement from the period 2002-2005, when eighteen journalists were murdered in Colombia, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
The report expressed alarm at the death toll resulting from covering local news stories on corruption, human rights abuses and drug trafficking.
A Colombian radio reporter was killed in the northern department of Cordoba in March, following her investigations into local paramilitaries.
The PEC, which campaigns for the protection of journalists, stated that 59 journalists were killed in 25 countries in the first six months of 2010, constituting an increase of 10% compared with the same period in 2009.