Paramilitary threats against Colombian journalists and alternative media outlets

Latest paramilitary death threats shake alternative media projects in Colombia

September 15, 2018 by Colombia Informa
"You do not kill the truth when you kill journalists" Photo Credit: Colombia Informa

This piece was written by Colombia Informa, an alternative, movement-driven media project in Colombia. Colombia Informa and its members, as well as several other journalists and alternative media projects were declared military objectives by the paramilitary group Aguilas Negras. This is their response to the death threat and the growing human rights crisis in Colombia where those who fight for peace, human rights and a better future for Colombia are putting themselves in danger.

On September 10, a journalist working with El Macarenazoo, a newspaper based in Bogotá, received a letter signed by the Aguilas Negras Bloque Capital (Black Eagles Capital Bloc) [an extreme-right illegal armed group], in which they threatened newsreaders, journalists and members of the alternative and popular media organizations in Colombia: El Macarenazoo, El Turbión, Clarín de Colombia, Desde Abajo and Colombia Informa.

The letter gives a death threat to four journalists by name and the members of five media organizations. We, the threatened media organizations and journalists, indicate that such letter is a part of the growing wave of persecution of social organizations that have covered and reported the assassinations of social leaders and human rights defenders in the country.

Through this type of violent acts, they intend to silence the voices of journalists, as well as their work to disseminate, denounce and defend the human rights of the communities in the capital and throughout the national territory. We believe that this is not an isolated act, keeping in mind the numerous threats that social leaders have received throughout this year.

We are convinced that these facts are echoes of systematic violence that has been practiced against the people for decades. That has left millions of victims in its path, since the State has not provided human rights guarantees in the national territory, nor has it intended to safeguard the freedom of expression for the 89 journalists who were threatened and persecuted in the first six months this year.

We believe that this type of acts attacks democracy, violates the fundamental right to inform and be informed and also seeks to limit the participation of different social sectors. The continuation of this type of acts only shows the resistance put by those who have historically held power and have opposed social transformations and construction of a peace with social justice from the voices of the territories.

Despite the explicit objectives of this threat we emphasize that this far from intimidating, should generate the opposite effect i.e. strengthening bonds of solidarity and unity among those from media or any other discipline.