IFJ Demands that Colombian Authorities Investigate Brutal Murder of Journalist Luis Carlos Cervantes

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has called on Colombian authorities to investigate the brutal murder of the journalist Luis Carlos Cervantes in north west Colombia and to ensure that his killers answer for their crimes. According to media reports, Cervantes, journalist and director of the radio station, Morena FM, based in the township of Tarazá, in Antioquia, was killed at noon yesterday, Wednesday 13 August, on the road that leads from Tarazá to La Caucana. Eyewitness accounts say that two armed and unidentified people ordered the driver of the motorcycle on which Cervantes was traveling to move away and then they shot him nine times, killing him on the spot. IFJ’s Colombian affiliate, the Colombian Federation of Journalists (FECOLPER), says that Cervantes was working as a journalist, saying that he constantly interviewed various sources for the magazine he owned, ‘Buenos días Tarazá’. FECOLPER has demanded that the country's authorities do not dismiss the key point that the killing was related to his journalistic activities.

Reports say that the magazine recently ran an article which mentioned that a former mayor of Tarazá has been imprisoned for corruption and is accused of having links with paramilitaries. Cervantes had also reported that on 21 July a man came to his house to ask him to transmit information relating to criminal gangs on Morena FM. He refused and the next day he received a text message giving him two hours to leave the town.

FECOLPER has called on Colombian authorities to treat the homicide as a media attack and to carry out a detailed investigation so the motives for the appalling crime can be established, the perpetrators can be brought to justice and this does not become the latest example of the many crimes against media workers in the country that go unpunished. “We join our affiliate FECOLPER in condemning the murder of the journalist Luis Carlos Cervantes and we send our respects to his family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time,” said IFJ General Secretary Beth Costa. “It is clear that Cervantes was killed because of his work as a journalist and we demand that Colombian authorities find the perpetrators of this murder and bring an end to the culture of impunity for violence against media workers which exists in the country.” Reports say that Cervantes had been receiving threats since 2010, some of them concerning intimidation in which he was pressed to denounce gangs working for drug traffickers operating in the lower Cauca Antioquia. Journalists affiliated to FECOLPER in the region of Antioquia yesterday, Wednesday 13 August, participated in a protest in the city of Medellin to demand that authorities carry out an immediate investigation into Cervante's death. For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 17 The IFJ represents more than 600 000 journalists in 134 countries