The number of threats against Colombian journalists this year has more than doubled compared to the same period last year, Caracol Radio reported.
According to the Foundation for the Freedom of the Press (FLIP) between January 1 and June 30, 58 threats have been issued against journalists, which is nine more than the total issued for the entirety of last year.
Five journalists have been driven from their local communities by intimidation so far this year. The interior ministry has granted 77 journalists protection under its journalist protection program.
FLIP reported that most of the threats issued against journalists occurred on the northern Caribbean coast on the border between Antioquia and Cordoba, and on the southern Pacific coast in Narino and Cauca. A witness complained of intimidation in the northern region Tuesday and a journalist was killed in the same town last week. Both areas are considered hotspots for drug trafficking.
The press association further reported that most of the threats this year were issued by former paramilitaries, criminal groups, or by groups seeking to influence the upcoming elections.
FLIP commented that it had not heard of any journalists being driven into international exile, but that it could not rule out the possibility, as exile cases are seldom reported in Colombia unless the journalist returns.