The group, which confirmed it was holding the journalist in a video released Sunday, asked for a “broad national and international debate about freedom of information” before Langlois was released.
“Romeo is a journalist, a civilian and should be released,” said Jineth Bedoya Lima, the assistant judicial editor for national newspaper El Tiempo.
The FARC’s tweets also revealed that the reporter was allegedly in army fatigues during the April 28 firefight that preceded his capture. Colombian officials have reiterated that Langlois was wearing only a bulletproof vest and helmet strictly for his personal safety.
Colombia’s military accused the FARC guerrillas involved in the firefight of wearing civilian clothing, in opposition to international laws governing armed conflict.
Langlois was embedded with a military platoon in the southern department of Caqueta filming a documentary about counternarcotics operations.
This is the statement released via Twitter from FARC’s Secretariat:
1. Journalists who follow the Colombian armed forces operations do not meet the purpose of reporting reality fairly, but manipulate it to serve the project of pushing war on the Colombian people.
2. One might ask how the Colombian authorities would act, if a journalist with sound judgement accompanied a guerrilla unit which resulted in their capture by the regular army after a battle.
3. The Colombian government’s counterinsurgency concept aims to recruit everyone to their side, including the press. A camera can play the role of a weapon when it’s corroborated by the daily media manipulation that is practiced in our country.
4. The freedoms of thought, expression and information can not operate solely for the benefit of the owners of capital and land. Our website is attacked and blocked permanently, our communication channels have been ground to a halt.
5. The murderous Colombian regime, threatened, imprisoned or exiled domestic and foreign journalists trying to investigate or report on the draft version of a conflict. Many of these cases are known and there are too many to list.
6. Romeo Langlois wore the military uniform of the regular army in the middle of a fight. We believe that the least we can expect in order to recover full mobility is opening a broad national and international debate about freedom of information.
7. It is a routine custom of the Colombian Army to undertake risky rescue operations with the deliberate intention of losing the lives of prisoners. We’d be closer to a resolution if we keep the press in check.