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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Former representative attacks reporters with impunity in front of police in Colombia



Two Colombian journalists claimed they were physically and verbally attacked by a former congressman and his wife in the view of police officers, who did nothing to stop the assault, reported the Colombian Federation of Journalists (FECOLPER in Spanish). The attack took place in Sincelejo, Sucre when the two journalists tried to cover a suspected robbery at the home of former Congressman Héctor Vergara, added FECOLPER. 

Journalist Gina Urieles and cameraman Cristian Buelvas noticed a police vehicle with its sirens on and followed it to Vergara's home, according to the news editor for Notisabana, where both reporters work, reported the newspaper El Tiempo. 

There, the reporters took photographs of the home's exterior, provoking the ire of Vergara and his wife, who asked them to leave the area and delete the images, according to the RCN broadcaster's website. The congressman held the reporters' motorcycle for almost a half hour during which a strong-worded discussion took place, added the website. 

Another journalist present recorded the argument in which the former official called the reporters "sensationalists," among other insults. The reporters filed a complaint for personal injuries with the police, according to the newspaper El Universal. 

The altercation happened after the Foundation for Press Freedom called January 2013 a "critical" month for the Colombian media following several attacks on the press. Many of them took place in the northern part of the Andean country, including the departments of Sucre and Córdoba

For more on this story, watch part of the argument between the reporters and the former congressman:

 



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