UN Condemns Killing of Colombian Journalist

News from Colombia | on: Monday, 4 May 2009

Colombian radio reporter Jose Everardo Aguilar, an outspoken critic of government corruption, has been gunned down in his home in southwest Colombia in an attack condemned by a senior UN official as an attempt to silence criticism. "No democracy can allow guns to silence debate," said Koichiro Matsuura, the Director General of UNESCO, who also stressed that free speech is Colombia is under attack. Mr Aguilar, who was assassinated in the town of Patia on April 24th, had received several death threats after reporting on government corruption and links between politicians and rightwing paramilitaries.

Mr Everardo Aguilar, who had worked for 'Radio Super' for ten years, was shot dead in his home after an unidentified individual posing as a delivery man arrived there at around 7.15pm saying that he had a package of photos for the journalist. Once inside the assassin shot Mr Everardo Aguilar three times before fleeing.

According to the Latin American and Caribbean Federation of Journalists (FEPALC) there have been 40 attacks against journalists in Colombia since the start of the year and the country remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world for them. Since 2002, when President Alvaro Uribe came to power, nearly 40 journalists have been murdered.

UNESCO is the UN agency tasked with championing press freedom and in his comments Mr Matsuura added that "increasing attacks on journalists threaten to jeopardize the fundamental right of freedom of expression in Colombia."

See also Colombian Soldiers Raid Home of Journalist

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