CPJ Journalist Security Blog

Colombia


For centuries, journalists have been willing to go to prison to protect their sources. Back in 1848, New York Herald correspondent John Nugent spent a month in jail for refusing to tell a U.S. Senate committee his source for a leak exposing the secret approval of a treaty with Mexico. In a digital age, however, journalists need more than steadfast conviction to keep themselves and their sources safe. Government intelligence agencies, terrorist groups, and criminal syndicates are using electronic surveillance to learn what journalists are doing and who their sources are.  It seems many journalists are not keeping pace.

Courtesy Hollman Morris

For a month, U.S.
officials in Bogotá told Colombian journalist Hollman Morris that his request for a U.S.
visa to study at Harvard as a prestigious Nieman
Fellow
had been denied on grounds relating to terrorist activities as
defined by the U.S. Patriot Act, and that the decision was permanent and that there were no grounds for appeal. It was the first time in the storied history
of the Nieman
Foundation
that a journalist had been prohibited from traveling not by his
own nation, such as, say, South Africa’s apartheid regime back in 1960, but by
ours, noted
Nieman Curator Bob Giles
in the Los Angeles Times.

Daniel
Coronell's name didn't come up in a hearing this week on Capitol Hill, even
though CPJ had just learned that a Colombian court had ordered the arrest of the
respected Canal Uno TV reporter and Semana magazine columnist over his work.
Coronell is one of many journalists and human rights monitors
who've lately been forced to defend themselves against irregular, if not bogus, criminal charges brought in Colombian courts. The hearing held by
the Tom
Lantos Human Rights Commission
of the House Foreign Affairs Committee did,
however, hear important testimony from one of Coronell's colleagues.

Recent Tags

CPJ Journalist Security Guide

Active Discussions
Most Emailed
Blog Archives