Paramilitaries Threaten Journalists

News from Colombia | on: Sunday, 11 May 2008

Six journalists working for the 'Sarare FM' radio station in the Colombian region of Arauca have received a death threat from rightwing paramilitaries warning them not to report on "issues that don't concern them". The threat also said that they or their families could suffer if they did not comply.

The six reporters, Isneldo Gonzalez, Elida Parra, Emiro Goyeneche, Ismael Antonio Rodriguez, Alexis Ivan Rojas and Deibys Pantoja Carreno, all received the same threat by text message to their mobile phones at around 10am on May 8th. The messages were signed by the AUC an acronym for army-backed rightwing paramilitaries in Colombia.

All six were involved in a September 2007 human rights conference in Arauca that was organized by the Human Rights Commission of the Colombian Senate and it is believed that the threat is related to this.

In addition, one of the six, Isneldo Gonzalez, helps manage a radio programme for the 'Joel Sierra' Human Rights Foundation the leading human rights organisation in Arauca. Due to threats against people involved in such work in Arauca, Mr Gonzalez is one of various individuals that are currently the subject of special protection mechanisms put in place by the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights.

Colombia is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists with over 30 having been killed since President Alvaro Uribe took power in 2002 (for a full list see As well as the violence various factors such as the concentration of media ownership have contributed to an environment in which self-censorship is prevalent.

For previous Justice for Colombia coverage relating to journalists in Colombia see:

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