Press association outraged at journalist’s murder in Colombia
MIAMI, USA (IAPA) - The murder of journalist Luis Peralta Cuéllar in Colombia has brought a strong protest from the Inter American Press Association (IAPA), which called on the local authorities to conduct a prompt investigation of the motives, determine those responsible and bring them to justice.
Peralta Cuéllar, 63, owner of the radio station Linda Stereo 95.1 FM, an affiliate of Caracol Radio, was killed on February 14 in the town of El Doncello, in Caquetá province, as he was walking with his wife near their home. A group of unidentified assailants shot at them, killing him and wounding his wife, who is now recovering in a local hospital.
IAPA president, Gustavo Mohme, editor of the Lima, Peru, newspaper La República, offered his sympathy to the victims’ family and colleagues and declared, “The government should take concrete legal actions to combat violence and not allow crimes to go unpunished,” a request that last week he made in person to Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos when he headed an IAPA international delegation on a visit to Bogotá.
Claudio Paolillo, chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, said, “Exhaustive investigation and effective administration of justice is the only way to ensure the protection of journalists.”
According to the Press Freedom Foundation (FLIP) Peralta Cuéllar had received threats over this exposure of corruption in state-run companies. The day before his murder he announced his candidacy for mayor of El Doncello. FLIP reported that in 2010 an explosive device was deactivated outside his station’s premises.
The IAPA will be reviewing the state of press freedom in the Americas at its meeting in Panama City, Panama, to be held March 6-9.