Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Sex, Drugs, Politics & Death Threats: Journalists Under Fire in Columbia

Drug cartels, politicians, ego, greed, and unbridled power have created a toxic mix for journalists in Columbia. . The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) cites Columbia as one of the most dangerous places for reporters, photographers, and their support staff.

A Columbian journalist is in hiding after Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez accused him of collaboration with drug lord Pablo Excobar's mistress in publishing a book alleging Uribe has drug ties. Gonzalo Guillen had his security detail reduced as dozens of death threats followed Uribe's attack, according to the CPJ.

Reporters Without Borders earlier this year issued a harrowing report on the 30,000 paramilitaries, called the "Black Eagles" unleashed on journalists by Uribe's government. In June, Javier Dario Arroyave was stabbed to death as the attacks on journalists escalated, according to the International Federation of Journalists.

Journalism is a risky business, especially in areas where power means absolute power, and where a free press is not a right. As recent events in Burma (Myanmar) have shown, truth all too often teeters on the edge of a grave.

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