COLOMBIA: Journalist threatened with death following reports on corruption

NOVEMBER 22, 2007
Posted December 18, 2007

Feibir Beltrán Luna, Cauca Visón, Cauca Noticias

Beltrán, owner and director of local TV station Cauca Visión and the online daily Cauca Noticias, was threatened with death in the eastern city of Popayán, following reports by the station on local police corruption, the journalist told CPJ.

Around 10 a.m. on November 22, Beltrán received a call on his cell phone from a private number, the journalist said. An unidentified man told him that he and his family were targeted for murder, Beltrán told CPJ. The caller added that Beltrán would become “the Arizmendi of Popayán,” in reference to Darío Arizmendi, director of national Caracol Radio, who was forced to flee Colombia in May because of repeated threats against him. Beltrán said he immediately informed local police.

Beltrán believes the threat—one of many he said he has received since February 2006—is related to his station’s inquiries into corruption scandals involving important members of the local police, he told CPJ. Beltrán is currently receiving protection from the Ministry of Interior’s program for journalist protection.

Claudia Liliana Gutiérrez, an officer with the National Police Intelligence Service, told the local press freedom group Fundación para la Libertad de Prensa that authorities are investigating the case, and will continue to grant Beltrán protection.