FLIP's report on attacks against the press during May and June 2001
(FLIP/IFEX) - The following is FLIP's 4 July 2001 report on attacks against the press during May and June 2001:
THE FOUNDATION FOR PRESS FREEDOM HAS RECORDED AND CONDEMNED THE FOLLOWING ATTACKS AGAINST THE PRESS OVER THE LAST TWO MONTHS
The Foundation for Press Freedom condemns the following attacks against Colombian journalists and the media, during May and June 2001.
Journalists have been subject to assassinations, kidnappings, intimidation, threats, a car bomb attack, robbery and personal injury.
3 May 2001
Journalist Edgar Artunduaga, considered one of the most important critics of President Pastrana's administration, resigned from the humorous radio programme La Luciérnaga, broadcast on the Caracol radio station, apparently due to government pressure. At the time, the Foundation for Press Freedom spoke out against the incident.
18 May 2001
Journalist Edgar Tavera Gaona was assassinated in the municipality of Güepsa - Santander. According to official information, the journalist was allegedly killed by the FARC for having denounced atrocities committed by the guerrilla group on a local radio station.
17, 18 and 20 May 2001
On 17, 18 and 20 May, three threatening telephone calls were received at the offices of the newspaper "El Tiempo", directed against four of the newspaper's journalists: Marta Elvira Soto, Orlando Gamboa, Sergio Ocampo and Carlos Pulgarín.
21 May 2001
National Police bomb disposal experts defused a car bomb found outside the offices of the Communist Party weekly newspaper Voz, in the city of Bogotá. The vehicle contained approximately 250 kilograms of dynamite. According to Carlos Lozano, the weekly's editor, the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia) were likely responsible for the attack.
23 May 2001
Journalist Gustavo Gallo Machado, photographer Donaldo de Jesús Zuluaga Velilla and driver Ramon Morales, of the Medellín based newspaper El Colombiano, were intercepted as they were heading to the Municipality of San Francisco in Antioquira, apparently by members of the FARC guerrilla group's 19th division. The vehicle in which they were travelling, which contained copies of the newspaper, was stolen.
23 May 2001
A pamphlet, apparently put together by the Urban Militias (Milicias Urbanas), dissidents of the ELN guerilla group, was issued refuting Colombian journalists' work and accusing them of failing to be impartial in their coverage.
25 May 2001
Journalist Carlos Lajud, of the Bogotá based television station City Tv, and Alberto Cantillo, spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police, were injured by splinters resulting from a second explosion, in front of the National University, after arriving at the scene to report on a prior explosion.
13 June 2001
Journalist Carlos Espejo and graphics editor Nelson Sierra, of the newspaper El Espectador, were attacked in a downtown Bogotá neighbourhood known as "El Cartucho", while they were putting together a report on the work being done in the zone by the Office of the Bogotá District Mayor. The zone is inhabited by poverty-stricken individuals.
23 June 2001
Journalist Carlos Reina, distributor of the newspaper El Espectador in the city of Yopal - Casanare for the last six months and member of the RCN television station team, was kidnapped. The kidnapping occurred in the Municipality of Guateque - Cundinamarca, as the journalist was heading to his country home with his family. The motive for the kidnapping is not known.
28 June 2001
Journalist Pablo Emilio Parra was killed. He was an announcer and owner of the local radio station, president of the Red Cross in the Municipality of Planadas - Tolima, and active with the Red Cross for the last two and a half years. There were no reports of his having been threatened. The guerilla is believed to have been behind the assassination.
The Foundation for Press Freedom urges the national government and the corresponding authorities to promptly investigate the aforementioned cases.