The Colombian legal system, which fails to convict those who commit crimes against journalists, is the biggest threat facing Colombian journalists today, according to Adriana Blanco, a representative from the Foundation for the Liberty of Press (FLIP).
“Journalist who are threatened or murdered, normally their process before the legal system never comes to an end. The judicial investigations are stuck. There are people that have processes open for 20 years or more and the perpetrators are never found and they are still threatening journalists in many parts of the country,” Blanco told Colombia Reports.
Of the 138 cases of the murder of journalists that have gone to court since 1977, only five have ended in a conviction, according to a report on press freedom in Colombia compiled by FLIP. In regard to cases of threats against journalists’ lives, not a single one has resulted in a conviction.
FLIP believes impunity to be the biggest problem in protecting journalists’ right to freedom of expression, and that the root of the issue is the overloaded legal system.
“The cases of journalists are just part of the whole crisis in the legal system,” the FLIP representative told Colombia Reports.
With two assassinations and 51 threats against journalists recorded in 2010, Colombia holds the position of the country with the most aggression against journalists in all of Latin America, says Blanco.
“I think that for democracy, the correct exercise of rights and so that people know what’s going on in their own country, it is necessary that journalists can perform their work with security and respect from authorities and from the people,” Blanco said.
Colombia celebrates Journalist’s Day on February 9.