14 September 2015

IAPA outraged at murder of journalist in Colombia

MIAMI, Florida (September 14, 2015)—The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today expressed outrage at the murder in Colombia of journalist Flor Alba Núñez Vargas and called on the authorities to investigate exhaustively so as to determine who was responsible, learn the motive, bring them to justice and prevent such crimes limiting press freedom in the country from continuing. Núñez, 25, was killed on Thursday (September 10) as she was about to enter the cultural radio station that she ran, La Preferida Stereo, in the town of Pitalito, Huila province. The video taken by a security camera captured the moment in which an unidentified person carrying a motorcycle helmet shot her from behind and then fled. IAPA President Gustavo Mohme, editor of the Lima, Peru, newspaper La República, offered his condolences and sympathy to the journalist’s family and colleagues. He added, “Just as we have been denouncing, violence against journalists and lack of punishment continue to be major problems in the country.” According to what was reported in Colombia by the Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP) Núñez was also a correspondent of the news channel Nación TV and worked for local channels Canal 6 and TV5. Although the motives for the crime were not immediately known FLIP disclosed that among the theories being looked into was the possible link of the murderer with the recent publication on Facebook of photos of criminals understood to have carried out an attack against coverage of current regional elections. Núñez had also received threats over an interview she had made with people implicated in the killing of a pedigree dog. Her murder is added to that of two other journalists carried out this year in Colombia – that of Edgar Quintero of Radio Luna in Palmira, Valle del Cauca, on March 2, and that of Luis Peralta Cuéllar of the radio station Linda Stereo 95.1 FM in El Doncello, Caquetá, on February 14. The chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Claudio Paolillo, editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, called on the Colombian authorities to ensure the physical safety of journalists and he recalled that Principle 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec, a document signed by Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos, says that murder, violence and impunity “severely restrict freedom of expression and of the press and must be investigated promptly and punished severely.” The IAPA officers reported that, as is customary, their organization will be reviewing the state of press freedom and the principal problems noted in each country of the region during its General Assembly, to be held October 2-6 in Charleston, South Carolina. http://www.sipiapa.org/asambleas/charleston-2015. The IAPA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and of expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 print publications from throughout the Western Hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida. For more information please go to http://www.sipiapa.org.