Two high profile Colombian journalists condemned the state of journalism in the Andean nation, saying that many reporters live in a “state of terror” at a press conference Tuesday celebrating Colombia’s Day of the Journalist.
“Journalism in Colombia is mortally wounded and we have little to celebrate today and much to denounce,” said journalist Hollman Morris.
Morris addressed the conference along with fellow journalist Claudia Julieta Duque. Both have received death threats for their work and presented evidence of threats, harassment and being followed.
They blamed Colombian President Alvaro Uribe for their mistreatment, referring to the illegal wire tappings and tracking of journalists conducted by security agency DAS.
“The proof and testimony in the possession of the Prosecutor General and the Supreme Court of Justice are convincing in signaling the responsibility of the head of State, by action and omission,” said Morris.
The ex-director of DAS, Jorge Noguera has given evidence that Uribe was aware of the illegal activity.
A preliminary report released today by the Foundation for the Liberty of the Press (FLIP) finds the DAS illegal wire-tappings of journalists to be the greatest obstacle to press freedom of the press in Colombia.
Uribe responded to criticisms in a radio interview on RCN, saying his government “will continue make every effort possible to ensure that journalism in Colombia be free”.
These criticisms follow the sacking of two directors of news magazine Cambio, and the decision to turn the influential weekly into a monthly magazine. These incidences are widely believed to be the result of the magazine’s criticism of the government, claims which Uribe denied to RCN