International community calls for protection for Colombian journalists

International organisations including the United Nations and the embassies of fifteen countries have called on the Colombian government to take action over a rise in threats to journalists from far-right groups and individuals.

In a joint statement, the organisations and embassies said that, according to the Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP), over the past year there has been a 48 per cent increase in threats made to journalists. At least 124 journalists have been threatened in 2018, affecting their capacity to perform their journalistic duties. The most recent death threats came against Caracol TV journalist Vanessa De La Torre after she interviewed the lawyer of a jailed paramilitary who is a witness in the ongoing investigation against former president Álvaro Uribe.

The statement said that ‘we reaffirm our solidarity, support and commitment to the freedom of the press and of expression, We ratify our support to all the journalists and declare that we will continue supporting them in their work. Respectfully, we remind the authorities of national and regional order of their responsibility to guarantee the protection of all journalists. A free press, with full guarantees to exercise its profession, is a fundamental element and value of a democratic society’.

The highest number of threats were made against journalists in Bogota and in the department of Tolima. Other affected departments are Santander, Norte de Santander and Antioquia.

The statement was signed by:

Organisations – United Nations, Organization of American States, European Union

Embassies – Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom