CORRECTED-Ceso-FIP Denounces Crime Against Journalist in Santander De Quilichao, Southwest Colombia

Two shots killed journalist Silvio Muñoz, last Sunday, December 3, in the city of Santander de Quilichao, Department of Cauca, southwest Colombia.

Muñoz directed an opinion and debate program, Open Mic, on La voz de los Samanes radio station. He was riding his motorcycle when at about 50 meters away from his home, he was shot in the back by two unknown gunmen also on motorcycles. According to the prosecutor in charge of the case, the journalist was shot once again in the chest.

“There is something very strange in all of this as another motorcycle was found on top of Silvio’s motorcycle. This could mean the criminals had some troubles with theirs. The judge said this would be the starting point of the investigation,” said journalist Omar Acevedo, Muñoz's colleague and friend, said in an interview on 1.040 radio station in Popayán

When asked if Muñoz received any threats, Acevedo replied, “In journalism coverage, one always gets enemies for free. We get threatening calls at midnight to our homes for speaking the truth, and as a result of disclosing news that are inconvenient for someone. On Open Mic, Silvio had been receiving threats for a quite some time. I believe he was killed for being a journalist.”

However, the president of the Cauca Corporation of Journalists, Luz Edith Cometa, currently investigating this crime which has overshadowed Colombian journalism, told Ceso – FIP there are two versions surrounding the colleague’s death.

"In addition to Silvio’s courageous radio program, various citizens were contacted and they explained the journalist had recently guided a demonstration against motorcycle 'taxis', also known as 'motorcycle mice', after drivers carried out their own protest against authorities but their demonstration got out of hand," Cometa said.

On behalf of more than 500,000 members of the International Federation of Journalists, Ceso – FIP Director, Eduardo Márquez, saddened by the murder of Silvio Muñóz, sent condolences to his family, colleagues and friends.

“This cowardly murder is another message of intolerance, a rejection of debates of ideas and civil ways of solving conflicts,” Márquez said. “We hope the authorities are already investigating this case, that they determine the identity of the criminals and that they are brought to justice. Press freedom urgently needs a halt on impunity. I call on Colombian colleagues to deepen their investigations, to keep strengthening their search for truth, to put aside self censorship and find mechanisms to disclose information whenever there is a danger in a region.”

Muñóz is the sixth journalist killed in 2006 in Columbia.

“How many more crimes must we mourn until society realizes and understands - - as a whole, without us, democracy is not possible?” Márquez asked.

Center of Solidarity
International Federation of Journalists