Bogotá, March 27, 2023—Chilean authorities must thoroughly investigate the recent robbery and attempted arson at the office of the Resumen news website and determine whether the outlet was targeted for its journalism, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Monday.
Early in the morning of March 20, unidentified people entered the outlet’s office in the southern city of Concepción where they stole cleaning and office supplies, opened envelopes and archives, and set a small fire that did not spread, according to news reports and Resumen editor Felipe Valenzuela, who spoke with CPJ via messaging app.
The intruders, who were filmed on security cameras, also broke into neighboring offices in the building where they stole money and a computer, Valenzuela said. He told CPJ he did not know if the burglary was connected to Resumen’s journalism.
Previously, unidentified people stole a camera, image stabilizer, and other equipment from the outlet’s office in July 2022. The intruders also set a fire in that incident, according to Valenzuela and reports from the time.
“Chilean authorities must take seriously their responsibility to protect the Resumen news outlet amid repeated attacks on its office,” said CPJ Program Director Carlos Martínez de la Serna, in New York. “Authorities need to send an unequivocal message of condemnation and take swift action to hold those responsible to account.”
Valenzuela told CPJ that Resumen often reports on political corruption in and around Concepción. In January 2023, a criminal court judge in Concepción convicted Resumen journalist Felipe Soto Cortés of defamation for reporting that a local fish and wildlife official was allegedly receiving excessive pay.
“We’ve been attacked twice in eight months plus our journalists are being harassed with lawsuits,” Valenzuela said.
Valenzuela filed a police report about the burglary with the Concepción police. When CPJ called the police for comment, a spokesperson said he could not provide information over the phone and that the attorney general’s office was investigating.
CPJ’s calls to the Concepción attorney general’s office were not answered.