Colombia ranks fifth in the world for impunity in cases of slain journalists, with 88% of murders not resulting in a conviction, according to research published by the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Since 1992, 41 Colombian journalists have been targeted and killed in direct reprisal for their work, according to the CPJ factsheet. Another 33 have been murdered, their deaths labeled “motive unconfirmed,” pending further investigation by the committee. These numbers exclude journalists who were killed in crossfire or on dangerous assignments.
56% of the slain journalists were investigating corruption.
Carlos Cervantes, the journalist gunned down by five bullets on Tuesday, also investigated corruption, and had been receiving death threats for years.
Colombia’s National Protection Unit (UNP) under the Ministry of the Interior had given Cervantes a protective detail beginning in June 2012, but it was called off three weeks before his murder because Cervantes had not practiced journalism in over a year.
The UNP claimed on Tuesday that “there was no causal link between threats received by the communicator and his work as a journalist,” Colombia’s W Radio reported.
Cervantes was convinced that his work uncovering local corruption was the reason he was being targeted, and had previously claimed that the local mayor’s office was conspiring to have him killed.
MORE: Colombia journalist gunned down after years of death threats// <![CDATA[
- Amenazas contra periodista asesinado no eran por su profesión, según Gobierno (Radia La W)
- 41 Journalists Murdered in Colombia since 1992 (Committee to Protect Journalists)