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IAPA condemns journalist's assassination, another journalist attacked

(IAPA/IFEX) - The following is a 30 April 2001 IAPA press release:


Miami (30 April 2001) - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) condemned and expressed its concern over the assassination of one journalist and an attack against another, which occurred this past weekend in Colombia. The organization asked the authorities to promptly investigate both incidents.

Journalist Flavio Bedoya, of the leftist newspaper Voz, was assassinated on Friday 27 April in Tumaco, Nariño department, on Colombia's Pacific Coast. Bedoya was repeatedly shot at by four individuals as he was getting off a bus.

According to reports, Bedoya, who was fifty-two years old, had alerted the newspaper's director of the threats he had received after a report he wrote on the fighting between paramilitaries and guerrillas was published at the beginning of April.

"The journalistic profession in Colombia is still being carried out under a blanket of insecurity and impunity. When a journalist is killed, the public's right to information, freedom of expression and other rights and liberties are restricted. We call on the authorities to investigate this assassination and identify those responsible," remarked Danilo Arbilla, IAPA president, of the Montevideo, Uruguay news weekly Búsqueda.

In a separate incident on Saturday 28 April, journalist John Portela, chief of press for the Bogotá Mayor's Office, was shot in the face by an unknown individual. So far, there is no indication of the motives for the attack.

Rafael Molina, president of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, from the Dominican Republic magazine Ahora, highlighted the importance of the state increasing its efforts and providing guarantees for journalists and the media so that they can carry out their work freely and in a safe environment.

Arbilla, Molina and the Committee's regional vice-president for Colombia, Enrique Santos Calderon, arranged for the Rapid Response Unit to investigate these incidents.

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