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.
On Monday evening, an unidentified gunman on a motorcycle shot Quintero multiple times as the journalist was entering a bakery in Palmira, a city in the Southwestern department Valle del Cauca, according to news reports. The bakery was near the offices of Radio Luna, where the journalist worked.
Quintero, known as “Quintín,” hosted the news and commentary program “News and Something More” (Noticias y Algo Más) every weekday on Radio Luna, local journalists told CPJ. He often criticized local government and police officials on his program and discussed sensitive issues like corruption, according to the Bogotá-based press freedom organization Foundation for the Freedom of the Press (FLIP) and Edison Hidalgo, a journalist for the local station Radio Palmira, who spoke to CPJ.
Hidalgo said that Quintero had recently called officials from the city’s previous administration “thieves” on the air and that the journalist had received threats more than a year ago. Hidalgo said he didn’t know the content of the threats or whether Quintero had reported them to the authorities.
The Palmira police chief, Coronel William López, told CPJ that authorities had not yet identified any suspects or a possible motive, but were investigating the murder. López told FLIP he was unaware if Quintero had received any threats shortly before his death.
“Edgar Quintero is the second radio journalist to be murdered in fewer than three weeks in Colombia,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas. “Authorities must act now to guarantee the safety of all Colombian journalists and ensure these two cases don’t become the latest examples of the country’s terrible impunity record.”
Radio journalist and aspiring politician Luis Antonio Peralta Cuéllar, who often broadcast reports criticizing political corruption, was gunned down on February 14 in the southern Colombian town of Doncello, Caquetá. CPJ is investigating to determine whether Peralta’s murder was related to his work. Journalists reporting on sensitive issues in Colombia, such as the country’s decades-long conflict, crime, and corruption, have faced renewed violence and intimidation in recent years, according to CPJ research.
- For more data and analysis on Colombia, visit CPJ’s Colombia page here.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: The seventh paragraph of this alert have been corrected to reflect the spelling of Luis Antonio Peralta Cuéllar’s name.]