Fundación para la Libertad de Prensa - FLIP

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Thursday, 19 February 2015 18:08

Colombian journalist known for reporting on corruption killed at home radio station

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On 14 February 2015, at 5:30 p.m., journalist Luis Peralta Cuellar, 63, was killed at his home in the municipality of El Doncello, in the department of Caquetá. The journalist operated the Linda Stereo radio station, an affiliate of Caracol radio, from his home. 

Peralta's wife was also injured in the attack and is in stable condition in hospital. 

A few days earlier, Peralta told one of his colleagues, a host at the radio station, that he had received threats. He did not provide any details, nor did he report the threats to the authorities. 

Peralta was known for his critical journalistic style and he was heard across five municipalities throughout the northern area of Caquetá. He had recently covered issues relating to oil extraction and government corruption, specifically cost overruns in the acquisition of garbage trucks. The station had repeatedly covered corruption in publicly-held companies. 

In August 2010, the Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP) reported on the deactivation by police of an explosive that had been left at Linda Stereo's facilities. The 25 kg explosive was discovered by a station employee who noticed a pail of sand with several cables coming out of it. It was programmed to be detonated using a mobile phone. 

Two days before his assassination, Peralta announced his candidacy for mayor of El Doncello. It was the first time he would have run for office and he had never previously held a public position. In his long career as a journalist he founded several media outlets and he was a prominent media figure in Caquetá. 

Authorities are reviewing video footage taken by security cameras at his home. 

FLIP will follow the development of Peralta's case and calls on the authorities to thoroughly investigate the assassination and bring those responsible to justice. In addition, the organisation calls on the authorities to provide protection to the Linda Stereo personnel.

Translated by IFEX.