IFJ Calls on Colombian Authorities to End Impunity After Brutal Assassination of Local Radio Journalist

The International Federation of Journalists today condemned the brutal killing of a radio journalist in Colombia and called on the government to break the cycle of impunity by investigating and prosecuting those responsible for the crime.

On 20 March, 56 year-old Colombian radio commentator Gustavo Rojas Gabalo, died of injuries to the head and clavicle, which he sustained in a 4 February shooting by two unidentified gunmen outside a local supermarket in the northwestern city of Montería, Córdoba province.

A few days before his death, Colonel Jaime Orlado Velasco Commander of the Montería Police Department informed the IFJ Safety Office in Colombia, CESO-FIP and the Fundación para la Libertad de Prensa (FLIP), investigations regarding the attack against “El Gaba” continued. He also said the journalist did not give any statement to the Prosecutor because of his critical health condition.

Some local journalists and media organizations have said unknown gunmen who attacked Rojas could have been hired by powerful local authorities or paramilitary groups in retaliation for corruption accusations Rojas Gabalo had made on his radio program.

Rojas Gabalo had nine children and was born in Balboa neighborhood in Montería. His first program was “Este es Córdoba” (This is Córdoba). He hosted popular festivities all throughout the department for more than seven years. His second program 'Sinfonía de Acordeones' (Accordion Symphony) which would change its name to “Gaba’s Show” was on the air for 25 years. This program included several critical commentaries about the local administration and political classes of Córdoba.

Ceso-FIP expresses its deepest condolences to Gustavo’s family. Ceso-FIP is calling on the Colombian authorities to carry out an in-depth investigation into the capture and trial of those who carried out the attack against our colleague and the intellectual authors involved in this crime. The impunity enjoyed by those who attack journalists in Colombia has become a stimulating factor for anyone who considers press freedom inconvenient.

For further information contact the IFJ: +32 2 235 2207

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries