International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today backed the appeal of its
affiliate in Colombia, the Federación Colombiana de Periodistas (FECOLPER)
for a silent march throughout the country on World Press Freedom Day to
denounce continuing threats against journalists and to call on the government
to provide them with protection.
The appeal followed recent threats made against
FECOLPER President Eduardo Márquez, and other journalists who were targeted by
the Black Eagles, an armed paramilitary group in Colombia.
"We support the march which is
both a message of defiance to those who threaten journalists and a reminder of
the Colombian government's duty to protect our colleagues," said Jim Boumelha,
IFJ President. "All journalists' organisations in Colombia are determined to lift the shadow of terror on journalists
and this action and more to follow will ensure the authorities' indifference in
the face of danger to journalists is no longer an option."
The FECOLPER said in a statement that the decision to stage a silent
march on World Press Freedom Day was taken during its extraordinary assembly
held in the Colombian city of Barranquilla. The march which takes place
across the country today and bring together all affiliates of FECOLPER aims to
press the government and security services on protection measures for
journalists under threat in order to guarantee their right to work in safety.
According to the statement, threats were made recently against FECOLPER
and its President Eduardo Márquez along with a group of other prominent
journalists, including Claudia Julieta Duque, Hollman Morris, Daniel Coronell and
Marcos Perales Mendoza who have been declared by the Black Eagles group as
revealed that another journalist, Hernando Lozano Ávila, who works for Telecaribe TV in the city of
Barranqilla received threats last week on his telephone from a man who told him
he was about to be killed because of his reporting.
The IFJ says that the poor record of Colombian authorities in fighting
impunity for violence and intimidation against media contributes to the recent
resurgence of threats and risks to return the country back to its past as a
killing field for journalists.
"The respite for our colleagues in Colombia is likely to be short lived
unless drastic measures are taken to confront media predators," said Elisabeth
Costa, IFJ General Secretary. "This has to be resisted and we commend our
colleagues for leading the fight back for their safety and freedoms. We support
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07
The IFJ represents more than
600.000 members in 131 countries