Monitoring press freedom and international affairs from Mid-Missouri Public Radio and the Missouri School of Journalism

Colombian journalists fear paramilitary 'blacklists'

15 December 2014

Colombian journalists met on Dec. 11 in the capital city of Bogota to publicize threats they have received from a right-wing paramilitary group called Bloque Capital - Águilas Negras [Capital Block - Black Eagles]. The group released three blacklists in early December demanding the journalists stop reporting and leave their posts by Jan. 1.

The Colombian government has not responded to the threat, so the journalists orchestrated a meeting in the country’s capital to publicize the tactic meant to silence them. Fourteen journalists, and 12 media organizations were named in the blacklist, according to Paris-based Reporters Without Borders.

The community-based media outlets often cover corruption, organized crime, human rights issues and the country’s ongoing peace talks, the media freedom group reported.

Águilas Negras is a violent right-wing paramilitary group working to undermine the peace talks between Colombia's government and leftist guerrillas from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia [FARC], according to Venezuela-based TeleSUR. Águilas Negras had accused the journalists of working for the FARC and another Marxist guerrilla group, the Ejército de Liberación Nacional, or ELN.

Also in early December, the criminal group targeted TeleSUR and a Bogota-based public television channel Canal Capital, as well as Colombian journalist Nelson Arnesto. In August, it sent a death threat to freelance photographer Juan Pablo Gutiérrez for his work with an indigenous rights group based in Bogota, according to New York-based Amnesty International.

Colombia is one of the deadliest countries in the world for reporters. Forty-five journalists have been killed in the country since 1992, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

Monitoring press freedom and international affairs from Mid-Missouri Public Radio and the Missouri School of Journalism.
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