WHEREAS, the newspaper El Colombiano, of Medellín, in its role as watchdog of the public administration and the exercise of political power, has denounced and investigated multiple conducts that would be considered acts of corruption or irregularities in the municipal administration of Medellín, which compromise its Mayor Daniel Quintero Calle, as well as different secretaries and members of the mayor's office cabinet
WHEREAS, Mayor Quintero Calle and members of his cabinet, in response to the investigative journalism of El Colombiano, have stepped up their attacks against the newspaper using social networks; that on Twitter they have implemented a discrediting campaign organized from the official accounts of members of the cabinet, with direct attacks on the media, clearly undermining the good name, credibility and work of the newspaper; that on Twitter and WhatsApp circulate front pages of the newspaper that have been altered with false information that favors the Mayor's Office and that are distributed in pdf format as if they were real front pages, in evident misrepresentation of what this media publishes; that Mayor Quintero Calle shared some of those false front pages on his Twitter account
WHEREAS, the Secretary of Communications of the Mayor's Office of Medellín has instructed the press staff of local government agencies not to meet El Colombiano's requests for information, to which the officials have complied, hindering the journalistic work, delaying or, in most cases, refraining from responding to requests for information on public affairs
WHEREAS, Mayor Quintero Calle makes conjectures on social networks to disqualify the investigations carried out by El Colombiano, undermining its credibility and transparency before audiences
WHEREAS, the hostility that the Mayor and members of his cabinet exercise through digital media against El Colombiano has the potential to encourage violence against the media, and the purpose of belittling, discrediting and inducing fear, silence and withdrawal, undermining accountability journalism and trust in facts, and curbing the active participation of the newspaper in the public debate
WHEREAS, Carlos Mario Montoya, in his capacity as Secretary of Territorial Management and Control of the Municipality of Medellín, (a position to which he resigned on October 18, 2022), has engaged in online harassment against the editor of El Colombiano, Luz María Sierra Lopera, in addition to judicial harassment by denouncing her for alleged crimes of libel and slander, just for mentioning the name of the official in connection with journalistic investigations
WHEREAS, Principle 4 of the Chapultepec Declaration states: "Murder, terrorism, kidnapping, coercion, intimidation, unjust imprisonment of journalists, physical destruction of the media, violence of any kind, and impunity for perpetrators severely curtail freedom of expression and of the press. These acts must be promptly investigated and severely punished."
THE 78TH IAPA GENERAL ASSEMBLY RESOLVES
To urge the Mayor of Medellín Daniel Quintero Calle and his cabinet to stop the attacks and discrediting of El Colombiano and its director, normalizing the conditions that should ensure the full exercise of freedom of the press; and to urge the authorities to confer the necessary importance to the investigation and punishment of those guilty of acts of violence - including the harassment of journalists in cyberspace.