New York, January 20, 2021 — The Committee to Protect Journalists today welcomed the decision by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to grant precautionary measures to Colombian investigative journalist Ricardo Calderón Villegas, and called on Colombian authorities to take immediate action to ensure his safety.
Yesterday, the commission made public a resolution, dated January 14, determining that Calderón faced “grave and imminent” danger from threats and surveillance by the Colombian military and other sources due to his reporting, and ordered officials to adopt the necessary measures to protect Calderón’s life and allow him to continue working safely. Under the regulations of the Organization of American States, which operates the commission and of which Colombia is a member, the Colombian government is required to follow the commission’s recommendations and report back on its efforts.
“The decision by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to grant precautionary measures to journalist Ricardo Calderón is an important acknowledgment of the great risks that Colombia’s investigative reporters still face in uncovering the truth, and an unfortunate signal that the Colombian state is failing to uphold its obligations to protect members of the press,” said CPJ South and Central America Program Coordinator Natalie Southwick. “Colombian authorities should respond quickly to this decision and take all the necessary steps to ensure that Calderón and other investigative reporters can continue working safely.”
The commission’s decision was issued in response to a request filed by CPJ and the Bogotá-based Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP) on behalf of Calderón and other Colombian journalists in March 2020. CPJ and FLIP found that throughout 2019 and 2020, Calderón, then director of the investigative team at the weekly newsmagazine Semana, was the target of threats, harassment, and surveillance related to the outlet’s reporting on the Colombian military, including an investigation published in May 2020 that revealed an extensive military intelligence operation that monitored dozens of journalists.