Daniel Coronell

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Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, on a visit to Moscow in October 2013. (Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin)

Seven months after Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa flirted with the idea of offering asylum to former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, intercepted communications and leaked emails are again making headlines in the Andean country. This time, the story is not about international surveillance but a window onto the latest front in the ever-escalating war between the president and his critics.

A Colombian TV news director, who oversaw hard-hitting political coverage in central Antioquia department, resigned on June 28 after his editorial meeting was secretly recorded and used by politicians to push for his ouster.

Álvaro Uribe speaks at a 2011 congressional hearing about his alleged responsibility in the wiretapping of political opponents and journalists. (AP/William Fernando Martinez)

More than a year after he left office, Álvaro Uribe Vélez confessed that "it was not in him" to live as a former president. And in fact, having dominated Colombian politics for eight years, it has been impossible for Uribe to fade from the public eye since leaving office in August 2010. Instead of retiring to his ranch in Antioquia, he has lived in a heavily protected compound in the capital, Bogotá, with his wife and two sons. He spends his time traveling abroad for speaking engagements, has been a scholar at Georgetown University, and more recently announced the creation of a new political platform to oppose current President Juan Manuel Santos.  

Coronell (Judith Calson)

In 2005, a series of chilling death threats compelled award-winning Colombian journalist Daniel Coronell to leave Bogotá with his family for what ended up being a two-year stay in California. Today, more than three years after his return from exile, Coronell and his family are moving back to the States, this time by choice. CPJ spoke to him last week about how his return U.S. to take on a high-level position at a major TV network compares to his exile in 2005, and the press freedom conditions he's leaving behind in Colombia. 

Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez appears at a press conference with military leaders to announce the end of unlawful spying. (AP/Fernando Vergara)By Carlos Lauría

The topic being investigated by two Colombian reporters was explosive enough that it required unusual security. Fearful that the subjects would learn prematurely of the story, the reporters took separate notes, which they did not share and which they later destroyed. They didn’t communicate by telephone or e-mail, and they met only in public locations. They relayed only the barest information to their own sources.
June 2009

News from the Committee to Protect Journalists

Uribe, courts hold critical journalists in contempt

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.

New York, March 25, 2009--A court in Colombia has issued an arrest warrant for prominent journalist Daniel Coronell for contempt of court after he failed to correct for a second time a story linking a local businessman to drug trafficking, the Committee to Protect Journalists learned today. CPJ calls on the judge to withdraw the contempt ruling until an appeal is heard. 

New York, February 25, 2009--The illegal wiretapping of prominent Colombian journalists endangers their work and compromises their confidential sources, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

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