IFJ Condemns Brutal Killing of Journalist in Colombia (**Updated 03/09/03)

The International Federation of Journalists today condemned the brutal killing of a journalist in southern Colombia.

On 22 August, rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) killed Juan Carlos Benavidez, a radio journalist for Manantial Estereo, as he travelled from Puerto Caicedo to Puerto Asis in Putumayo state. Benavidez was shot and his colleague Jaime Conrado injured as they failed to halt at a roadblock on their way to cover a meeting between President Alvaro Uribe and regional officials.

“The irrepressible violence by militant groups in Colombia has created one of the most dangerous regions in the world for journalists,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “Our colleagues must not be targeted in the struggle between the warring sides of this Colombian civil war.”

The IFJ recalls that Benavidez is now the sixth journalist to be murdered this year alone, in a country, which has killed an average of ten journalists per year over the course of the past ten years, making it continually the world’s most dangerous spot for journalists.

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The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries

**Although the Colombian authorities have blamed the FARC rebels for the attack, it has not yet been confirmed if FARC were responsible, or if another of the warring factions in Colombia committed this crime. It has also not been established whether or not the two journalists were targeted in the shooting.