Death threats and violence against Colombian journalists have been replaced by lawsuits and legal summons, said press representatives this weekend at the 64th General Assembly of the Inter-American Press Society in Madrid.
Legal action against Colombian journalists has risen, charged a report presented by Gustavo Bell, director of the Atlantic Coast-based daily El Heraldo, reported Spanish news agency EFE.
Political polarization and ongoing friction between the different branches of government has damaged the freedom of press and opinion in recent months. For example summons to testify in investigations are issued despite constitutional protections, said the report.
The Colombian government has taken the credentials of mediums and journalists for publishing investigations implicating functionaries or Congress members of the ruling coalition in the ‘parapolitics’, narco-trafficking or other scandals.
At least a dozen journalists from El Tiempo, El Heraldo, El Colombiano and El País currently face legal action.
Yet violence is still common. In July, a group of soldiers shot into the air and impeded the work of journalists from The Nation of Huila, RCN Television and the magazine 740 when they were looking for information about an armed confrontation, reported EFE.
On another occasion, FARC guerilla’s threatened journalists covering the Liberty March last July.
Colombian press representatives also mentioned that their country’s Attorney General has reopened formal investigation of the 1986 murder of the director of El Espectador, Guillermo Cano.