Colombia’s leading weekly Semana sacked its most critical journalist, triggering a storm of criticism and the resignation of another.
Journalist Daniel Coronell said on Twitter that he was told he was fired in a Whatsapp message by his publisher’s CEO, Sandra Suarez.
Coronell’s second dismissal in a year triggered satirical columnist Daniel Samper to resign amid a storm of criticism against the weekly that previously hired two of the country’s most incendiary columnists, Vicky Davila and Salud Hernandez.
Davila and Hernandez have been fierce apologists of Uribe, the former boss of Suarez who is currently on trial over crimes related to his alleged role in forming a death squad.
Coronell was key in reporting on the trial against the controversial former president and former associate of the Medellin Cartel.
The firing of the legendary journalist and the resignation of the satirical columnist triggered an online outburst of criticism of Semana and expressions of support for Coronell and Samper.
“Today the corrupt are celebrating in Colombia. Daniel Coronell can no longer continue revealing crimes and abuses,” said Human Rights Watch Americas director Jose Miguel Vivanco.
NPR journalist and the Committee to Protect Journalists’ representative in Colombia, John Otis, said on Twitter he was “very much hoping he finds a new home for his column.”
Coronell has taught me by his example to be a columnist in search only of the truth. His work has always served as an inspiration and a compass for dealing with issues rigorously and without fear of consequences. Standing ovation for him today and always.
El Espectador columnist Yohir Akerman
“The only thing missing is Semana firing Maria Jimena Duzan and Ariel Avila to become 100% ‘Uribista’,” one Colombian Twitter user said.
The controversial decision of Semana, which is owned by the Gilinski family, is the latest in a series that followed its publisher’s decision to focus more on television.