Colombia

Road to justice: Breaking cycle of impunity

Despite increased international attention to the murders of journalists, governments fail to take action to reduce the high rates of targeted violence and impunity, the Committee to Protect Journalists finds. In the past 10 years, 370 journalists were murdered; in 90 percent of cases, there are no convictions. The unchecked, unsolved murders of journalists is one of the greatest threats to press freedom today.
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Alerts   |   Colombia

Second Colombian journalist murdered in less than three weeks

New York, March 3, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the murder of Colombian radio journalist Edgar Quintero and calls on authorities to thoroughly investigate all motives and hold the killers to account. Quintero is the second journalist to have been killed in fewer than three weeks in Colombia.

March 3, 2015 3:59 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Colombia

Radio station owner gunned down in Colombia

Bogotá, February 18, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the murder on Saturday of a Colombian radio station owner and calls on authorities to identify the motive and ensure the perpetrators are held to account. Luis Carlos Peralta Cuéllar was a journalist and an aspiring politician who often broadcast reports criticizing political corruption in the southern Colombian town of Doncello.

Blog   |   Colombia

Why García Márquez's work to improve press protection in Colombia is still vital

Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez on his 87th birthday last year. The Nobel laureate played a vital role in protecting journalists but more needs to be done. (AFP/Yuri Cortez)

To coincide with Colombia's national day for journalists the Colombian organization Foundation for Freedom of the Press (FLIP) has published its annual report on press freedom conditions. The review of challenges faced by the media in 2014 comes as we remember the loss last year of one of the great defenders and promoters of Colombian journalism: author and journalist Gabriel García Márquez. Two moments from the Nobel laureate's life are still significant when looking at the state of press freedom in Colombia today.

Alerts   |   Colombia

Colombian photojournalist escapes kidnappers

EDITOR'S NOTE: On January 29, 2015, reports in the Colombian press said Johanny Vargas issued a statement saying he had not been kidnapped and that his disappearance occurred under personal circumstances. CPJ is investigating.

Bogotá, January 23, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the abduction of Colombian news photographer Johanny Vargas and calls on authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice. Vargas, who had documented environmental damage caused by housing construction in the southern city of Popayán, was kidnapped Tuesday but escaped from his captors Thursday morning and is in good health, according to Vargas and news reports.

January 23, 2015 4:40 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Colombia

Colombian official convicted of 'psychological torture' of journalist

Bogotá, Colombia, December 22, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the conviction of a former high-ranking Colombian intelligence official who on December 19 was sentenced to 11 years in prison for carrying out a campaign of aggression and death threats against investigative journalist Claudia Julieta Duque, according to news reports.

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The Road to Justice

Breaking the Cycle of Impunity in the Killing of Journalists

The lack of justice in hundreds of murders of journalists around the world is one of the greatest threats to press freedom today. While international attention to the issue has grown over the past decade, there has been little progress in bringing down rates of impunity. States will have to demonstrate far more political will to implement international commitments to make an impact on the high rates of targeted violence that journalists routinely face. A special report by the Committee to Protect Journalists


October 28, 2014 12:01 AM ET

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The Road to Justice

About This Report

Elisabeth Witchel, the founder of CPJ’s Global Campaign Against Impunity, is the lead author of this report. Witchel launched the campaign in 2007 and has compiled five editions of the organization’s annual Global Impunity Index as well as several other major reports. She has worked in human rights and journalism for more than 15 years and participated in missions to Pakistan, Nepal, and the Philippines, among others. In 2010, she organized CPJ’s Impunity Summit, bringing together 40 representatives from more than 20 press freedom organizations to identify challenges and strategies to combat impunity in violence against journalists.

October 28, 2014 12:00 AM ET

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The Road to Justice

1. What Does Impunity Mean?

In 1981, the year CPJ was founded, Argentina was enmeshed in the so-called Dirty War, in which dozens of journalists were disappeared. Most were never seen again. To this day, no one has systematically documented the media murders that took place, and no one knows precisely how many journalists perished. Not surprisingly, given the information void, there was little international attention on journalists’ disappearances or the broader human rights catastrophe that many of the murdered reporters were seeking to cover.

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The Road to Justice

2. Measuring Progress Against Stubborn Reality

In November 2013, the United Nations General Assembly put the issue of impunity squarely on the global agenda.

The Resolution on Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, adopted by consensus, describes the absence of justice for victims as “one of the main challenges to strengthening the protection of journalists.” It calls on states to “ensure accountability through the conduct of impartial, speedy, and effective investigations into all alleged violence against journalists and media workers falling within their jurisdiction.” Governments are further charged to “bring the perpetrators of such crimes to justice and to ensure that victims have access to appropriate remedies.” The resolution proclaims November 2 as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.

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The Road to Justice

3. Where Impunity Thrives

A climate of impunity reached a tragic culmination on November 23, 2009, when gunmen ambushed a caravan escorting political candidate Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu as he prepared to file papers to become a candidate for provincial governor in the Philippines. The attackers slaughtered 58 people, among them 30 journalists and two media workers, the largest toll of journalists murdered in a single act since CPJ began keeping track in 1992.

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