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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Colombian cameraman shot and killed after months of threats



Two gunmen shot and killed Yonni Steven Caicedo, a 21-year-old Colombian cameraman for TV Noticias and Más Noticias, on Feb. 19 in the Comuna 12 section of the city of Buenaventura, according to the the Press Freedom Foundation (FLIP). 

Caicedo started receiving death threats seven months ago, which forced him to flee from Buenaventura for some time, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said. He had just returned to the city last month.

Although the police had encouraged the journalist to leave Buenaventura and offered some initial protection, RSF criticized authorities for not continuing to protect him.

“The police are well aware that the environment in which journalists operate is a minefield. Those investigating this journalist’s murder must actively consider the possibility that the motive was linked to his work,” said Camille Soulier, the head of the RSF's Americas desk.

Colombia's National Protection Agency (UNP) condemned Caicedo's death but said it had not been informed about the existence of death threats against him and had not received any requests for his protection, according to Colombian weekly Semana. The UNP also called on the prosecutor’s office to investigate the murder.

Caicedo's killing comes amidst a wave of violence against journalists in the country. Last year, journalist and attorney Édison Alberto Molina, who had accused Puerto Berrío's mayor of corruption, was shot and killed after several death threats. Earlier this month, a series of threats against two journalists in newspapers Q’Hubo and Más Noticias by the armed group Los Urabeños prevented a report they were working on from being published.

Threats to journalists in January also prompted FLIP to ask for greater police protection for three journalists -- Erika Londoño, Gustavo Chicangana and Jorge Ramírez -- who had been threatened for their political commentaries on a local governor’s race in the state of Guaviare.



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