Journalists working in Colombia for foreign media united in June this year to create the International Press Association of Colombia (APIC), with the goal of guaranteeing security and ethics for those reporting from the country.
Simone Bruno, an Italian journalist active in Colombia and the driving force behind the association, said APIC would “have the typical objectives of an international press association,” while stressing that the ongoing armed conflict in the country put extraordinary strains on journalists and therefore also on APIC.
“The Colombian particularity obliges us to ensure APIC has the possibility of being able to help journalists covering the armed conflict, with giving courses in International humanitarian law […] and first aid,” said Bruno to Spanish news agency EFE.
Bruno said APIC had been a “necessity” for quite some time, but that the recent capture and subsequent liberation of French journalist Romeo Langlois was the catalyzing factor in the association’s formation.
“The idea is to protect the journalists who are working for foreign media, like the case of Romeo Langlois has showed us. International journalists were not prepared for a situation like this, we should be prepared to react together in common lines while knowing what to do.”
In its first three weeks of existence, APIC already claimed to organize some 50 freelance journalists, correspondents and workers from foreign media companies.
“An example is when FLIP signals to help local journalists who are in difficulty or threatened. The idea is to add our voice to help these journalists, who are those who help us when we travel,” said Bruno.
In its 2011 report on press freedom in Colombia, FLIP said journalists active in conflict zones worked in an environment of “fear and self-censorship.” The organization noted two journalists had been killed so far in 2012, one more than during the whole of 2011.