Fundación para la Libertad de Prensa - FLIP

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Thursday, 28 July 2016 18:17

Correspondents of RCN who were kidnapped by ELN declared military targets

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Last friday, July 8th, journalists Diego D'Pablos and Carlos Melo received a threat through a text message on the cellphone of one of them. On the message, ELN is identificated as the author of the threat and the journalists are declared military targets. Diego D'Pablos and Carlos melo were kidnapped by the ELN between May 23rd and May 27th in the Catatumbo region. The threatening message is presented as a retaliation against the journalists for having denounced this event to the authorities. 

The FLIP rejects this threat and deplores the passivity of the authorities to end this risk. The Unidad Nacional de Protección (UNP) knew about this threat since the saturday at night and, until now, we don't know any decision to strenghten protective measures. It has been enough time for that entity to act. At this time, the journalists benefit from a special protection designated by the the Ministery of Defense. 

The UNP handed emergency measures to the journalists from the time of their release in May. However, the schema was modified then. FLIP, at the time, highlighted the inconvenience to level the protection of both to the detriment of the safety of one of them. This, because they continue working in the area of influence of the ELN and because were not been done any studies or risk analysis.

On the other hand, the Fiscalía General de la Nación has not made progress in the investigations about the kidnapping : impunity creates a climate of permissiveness to the actions of violence and censorship, as the threatening message sent to journalists from RCN. 

Since the kidnapping, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is studying on an application for precautionary measures for journalists. This threat highlights the urgence of a statement about it. The FLIP demands to the authorities to guarantee the protection of the journalists and to increase the efforts of investigation and judicial sanctions to defuse the risk. 

The harassment which are facing the journalists Diego D'Pablos and Carlos melo are a violation of press freedom which began with the kidnapping and increased with this threat.