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Latino Daily News

Saturday August 4, 2012

Colombian Radio Stations Most Affected by Threats, Attacks

Colombian Radio Stations Most Affected by Threats, Attacks

Photo: Colombian radio stations

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Community radio stations were the media outlets most affected by attacks and threats targeting journalists in Colombia in the first half of 2012, according to a report released Friday in this capital.

The three reporters slain during that six-month period all worked in community radio and three of the four radio stations attacked during the period were community broadcasters, the study by the Colombian Federation of Journalists, or Fecolper, said.

“The community radio stations are bearing the brunt” of the violence, Fecolper President Adriana Hurtado told Efe.

She recalled that the three reporters killed between March and May - Argemiro Cardenas Agudelo, Jesus Martinez and Yamit Bailarin Suescun - were affiliated with community media outlets in three different parts of Colombia.

The three “conducted their work outside the commercial media, strengthening the communities’ communication processes via community radio stations or cultural initiatives,” Fecolper said.

The community radio stations targeted in the attacks are based in Cali, Colombia’s third-largest city, and the indigenous communities of Jambalo and Toribio, according to Fecolper, which released the report to coincide with the Aug. 4 commemoration of the Day of the Journalist in the Andean nation.

Hurtado said one of the two journalists kidnapped this year in Colombia also worked for a community radio station.

In the first half of 2012, Fecolper also documented 64 instances of aggression against reporters, down 44 percent from the same period of 2011.

Of those, 17.6 percent were attributed to leftist guerrilla groups, 14.7 percent to members of the Colombian security forces and 11.8 percent to new paramilitary groups that have emerged since the 2003-2006 demobilization of the 31,000-strong AUC militia federation.

Responsibility for another 35.6 percent of the attacks has not been determined, while in the remaining 20 percent of the cases the aggression was deemed unrelated to the victims’ profession.

Fecolper also documented during that six-month period 14 cases of threats against journalists “directly related to the internal armed conflict.”

“The situation is really quite challenging,” Hurtado said, noting that in her country every form of pressure on journalists by illegal armed groups, the security forces or unknown perpetrators serves to “muzzle” the media.