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Three radio journalists receive death threats in Colombia

Guaviare department in Colombia. Image via Wikipedia.

Three radio journalists in Guaviare, Colombia recently received death threats in response to their reporting on an upcoming vote that may remove the local governor from office. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Erika Londoño, Gustavo Chicangana and Jorge Ramírez received the threats via multiple text messages sent to Londoño's phone. 

All three journalists work for Caracol Radio Guaviare where Londoño acts as the station's director, CPJ said. According to the organization's report, the state's governor, José Octaviano Rivera, has both condemned the threats and the station for linking him to "anti-democratic practices." In a separate dispute, following an investigation of Rivera by the Colombian attorney general's office, the station and Governor Rivera filed defamation suits against each other that are still pending.

Colombia's Freedom of the Press Foundation (FLIP) has called on the National Protection Unit of the Attorney General to provide protection for the three journalists. CPJ said that Londoño received such protection just last year following a separate set of threats. 

According to FLIP, "Under these circumstances, it is necessary for authorities and other political entities that participate in the electoral process to actively condemn the threats against the press in the state of Guaviare. Otherwise, the assumption will be that political movements tolerate threats against the press, which will bring negative consequences concerning a free and informed press."

The situation facing the media in Colombia has recently deteriorated. In 2013, several threats were reported, and journalist Édison Alberto Molina was killed in direct retaliation for his work.


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