Gunmen disrupt distribution of newspaper

OCTOBER 3, 2006
Posted: October 13, 2006

El Meridiano de Sucre


Several groups of unidentified individuals stopped distributors for the Sincelejo-based daily El Meridiano del Sucre, threatened them with guns and bought the majority of that day’s edition, which featured a story linking local government officials to paramilitary leaders, the daily’s editorial director Elsa Peniche told CPJ.

Several groups of two and three individuals stopped the daily’s distributors along their routes early in the morning. The unidentified men first asked to buy the paper from the distributors, who refused until they were threatened with guns, said Peniche. Threatened by the weapons, the distributors were forced to sell 58 percent of that day’s edition.

Peniche told CPJ that the paper’s feature story for that morning connected several local officials to a demobilized paramilitary leader. The story had been previously reported in the national press, according to Peniche, but no other regional media had published it.

The daily presented an official complaint to local authorities that day. Two days later, the local police commander began an investigation. No one has yet been arrested, Peniche told CPJ.