Armed men seize thousands of copies of newspaper

MARCH 8, 2006
Posted March 31, 2006

Primera Plana


Armed men seized 18,000 copies of the monthly newspaper Primera Plana in the northwestern city of Pereira after the publication of a report on government corruption.

At 11 a.m., a group of more than 20 armed men who identified themselves as supporters of former Pereira governor Elsa Gladys Cifuentes Aranzazu entered the parking lot in four vehicles, the paper’s director, Antonio Vargas Vablbuena, told CPJ.

Claiming to have a warrant from the Administrative Department of Security (DAS), the men attempted to seize the entire run of the paper’s March edition but were stopped by a local police officer, according to Primera Plana.

Vargas said that the armed men returned at 3 p.m., after the police had left. They shoved a security guard, threatened him with death, and seized all available copies of the paper.

An article on government corruption, with sharp criticsism of Cifuentes, was published in the March edition of Primera Plana.

On March 15 Vargas filed a complaint with the attorney general’s office.