FECOLPER ‘disappointed’ on government posture towards attack against the press in Arauca, Colombia

In statements made during the programme La Noche of Colombian private channel RCN TV, the Vice President of Colombia, Francisco Santos, assured journalists who had broadcasted the information of the FARC pamphlet committed apology of a criminal act. And to respond to a comment made by Emiro Goyeneche, journalist of Sarare Esteréo, regarding it was easy to make accusations from Bogotá, Santos answered if the journalist wasn’t willing to face the terrorist threat, the best thing to do was abandon journalism.

On this topic, Eduardo Márquez, President of the Colombian Federation of Journalists and Director of the IFJ Centre of Solidarity in Colombia, said: “To the Vice President, I wish to repeat what I said during that same programme and was not broadcasted: The reason of the State, in a democratic society, is to guarantee the life, honour and wellbeing of all its citizens. When a government does not fulfil this duty, it leaves journalists exposed to the pressures of illegal armed groups. With his statements, Santos left our colleagues in Arauca in a dead end street: on one side the weapons of the FARC and on the other, stands justice for an alleged apology of a crime act. To put blame on colleagues is to fall into the trap of beheading the messenger.”

Lastly, Márquez commented: “In the interview, the Vice President also assured he would send officials with decision making power to Arauca. That promise became a second class mission, led by an official of the Ministry of Domestic Affairs, whom we do not doubt will provide a positive response, once all the time consuming procedures have been carried out. This is an emergency situation; therefore we request your presence in Arauca, as a dignitary and as a journalist victim of intolerance, to make the structural decisions which will allow not only the free exercise of journalism, but the exercise of citizens’ rights currently threatened due to the proximity of general elections.”

Colombian Federation of Journalists, FECOLPER
FECOLPER represents more than 1.000 journalists in 18 departments of the country.

Centre of Solidarity of the International Federation of Journalists
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 115 countries