The Uribe administration on Tuesday stressed its support for a free and independent press in Colombia, following criticisms of the state of journalistic freedom in the Andean nation.
A government press release recognizes the importance of the work of journalists and the free press, stating that the government “respects the right to freedom of expression and understands its function as a fundamental pillar in a democratic society.”
“The government, since its beginning, has had a clear policy in regards to the protection and security of the citizens and professionals that work in journalism,” the press release states.
The government believes that this is reflected in the decrease of journalist murders, which fell from eleven cases in 2002, to just one case in 2009.
Prominent Colombian journalists have spoken out about the “mortally wounded” state of press freedom in their nation, citing wiretappings of journalists by security agency DAS as an example.
A preliminary report released by the Foundation for the Liberty of the Press (FLIP) on February 9 to mark Colombia’s national Day of the Journalist, finds the DAS illegal wire tappings of journalists to be the greatest obstacle to freedom of the press in Colombia.
The government responded to these criticisms, saying “the government rejects and does not tolerate illegal interceptions” and “considers it a deplorable practice and a violation of the press freedom and transparency that democracy needs.”
The press release maintains that the government never authorized the illegal wiretapping, and states that the cases will be fully investigated and those responsible prosecuted.