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Knight Center


Colombian newspaper claims Attorney General tried to censor it

The newspaper El Espectador de Colombia claimed the Attorney General of Colombia threatened to censor it, the publication said in an editorial published Wednesday, Oct. 16, reported the Associated Press (AP).

In the editorial titled, "Freedom of Expression Prevails," the newspaper said the "Attorney General notified us through a statement signed by Prosecutor Martha Lucía Zamora [...] of disciplinary and criminal charges against the company and the journalist(s) in charge of the publication,' for having published information about the homicide of the student Luis Andrés Colmenares."

The "Colmenares Case," as it is known in Colombia, investigates the death of a student at one of the most prestigious universities in the Andean country in October 2010. The case caught the attention of the media because the female suspects were friends of the young man.

The prosecutor's warning to El Espectador was triggered when the newspaper published parts of witnesses' statements and criticized them as contradictory.

Zamora told the AP that she respects freedom of the press but said it was not appropriate for the newspaper to take "what a witness had said to a prosecutor or an investigator and criticize it before it has reached the court."

However, after the editorial, Attorney General Eduardo Montealegre and Deputy Attorney Jorge Perdomo distanced themselves from Zamora's statement and declared their support for press freedom and the work journalists do, reported AP. Fidel Cano, director of the newspaper, confirmed that Montealegre called him, saying that "he was totally in agreement with the editorial and that he was not involved in the decision," according to the news agency.

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