Bogotá, February 17, 2010—Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Vélez said on Tuesday that those who illegally spy on the press are “enemies of his government” during a meeting with a delegation from the Committee to Protect Journalists and the Foundation for Freedom of the Press (FLIP).
On Tuesday morning, CPJ and FLIP presented their
annual reports during a press
conference at the
The delegation asked President Uribe to
make a strong statement in response to ongoing concerns about illegal spying.
The president reiterated that
The delegation included CPJ board member María Teresa Ronderos, one of Colombia’s most prominent journalists, former CPJ awardee Ignacio Gomez, president of FLIP, CPJ Americas Senior Program Coordinator Carlos Lauria, and FLIP Executive Director Andres Morales.
The CPJ and FLIP delegation told Uribe and Colombian officials that journalists are taking extraordinary steps to prevent their communications from being intercepted, and called on authorities to prosecute all those responsible. “It really hurts me that those responsible have not been captured,” said Uribe. General Naranjo said that the national police shared the president’s frustration with the investigation, but insisted that great efforts have been made.
As a result of the widespread espionage scheme,
confidential sources have been endangered and have become reluctant to talk to
Colombian journalists, CPJ and FLIP said. Uribe stated that his government will
not allow “any act that interferes with the work of the press.” Vice President
Since the scandal broke, the attorney general’s office launched an inquiry that resulted in the 2009 arrests of several top intelligence officials, including former DAS Deputy Director José Miguel Narváez. In all, 40 DAS officials are now being investigated. Seven were indicted in January and may soon stand trial. “Those who restrict the freedom of a journalist must be fully prosecuted,” said Uribe.
the meeting with Attorney General Guillermo Mendoza Diago on Monday, the
delegation also spoke with
While the names of the president’s advisors were released by the public prosecutor’s office in June, Uribe defended the officials and said that he rejected any pressure from the media to “criminalize innocent people.” Uribe said he worried that the lack of concrete results in the investigation has made room for political manipulation of his government.
Both the interior minister and the DAS director, who met with the delegation on Monday, issued statements reacting to the reports. Both statements reasserted that illegal espionage was not state policy, and that they have assisted in the investigation.
The delegation also urged authorities t