28 July 2008

IAPA calls for action on unpunished murder of journalist in Colombia


MIAMI, Florida (July 28, 2008)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) called today on newspaper readers throughout the Western Hemisphere to sign an open letter to Colombia’s President Alvaro Uribe urging him to bring to justice those responsible for the murder of  radio commentator Gustavo Ruíz Cantillo on November 15, 2000 in Pivijay, in the Colombian province of Magdalena.


Indications are that his death may be linked to threats he had received a month earlier concerning his broadcast remarks about the violence unleashed in the area by paramilitary groups. The Public Prosecutor’s Office handling the investigation has failed to identify those responsible, so the crime continues to go unpunished.


In recent years a total of 349 journalists have been murdered in the Americas. In the majority of the cases no one has been convicted of the murders or any suspects arrested. The IAPA has gone before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to formally denounce cases of journalists being murdered or having disappeared that have gone unpunished.


In ads published in nearly 400 newspapers throughout the Western Hemisphere the IAPA is inviting readers to go to its Web site www.impunidad.com and join the campaign titled “Let’s Put an End to Impunity Surrounding Crimes Against Journalists.” Since the campaign’s launch some 12,000 signatures have been sent to authorities concerned demanding more action in the investigations and for the guilty to be punished.


The initiative is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.