News Latin America The director of the newspaper ‘La Opinion’ of Cucuta is threatened with...

The director of the newspaper ‘La Opinion’ of Cucuta is threatened with death

The director of the newspaper ‘La Opinion’ of Cucuta is threatened with death

Stephanie Colmenares.The opinion

Estefania Colmenares, the director of The opinion de Cucuta, the main newspaper in the department of Norte de Santander, has reported that on Wednesday afternoon she received threats in WhatsApp messages from an unknown number, in which they put a price on her head and declared her a military objective. “Although the reasons that motivate this threat are unknown, we consider it important to make them public as a mechanism of rejection and to reiterate our commitment to journalism, to the truth and to investigations that can combat corruption,” Colmenares wrote on his social networks. which has received an avalanche of solidarity from colleagues, media and public figures.

The newspaper of the main city on the border with Venezuela recalled this Thursday that in recent weeks it has followed up on the complaints that have become known about the irregularities surrounding the hospitalization of former mayor Ramiro Suarez Corzo, convicted of homicide, who continues to project a long shadow over Cucuteno politics. Various sources indicate that he participated in the campaign for the regional elections in October from the 11th floor of the Erasmo Meoz University Hospital (Huem), where he remains confined.

“From that hospital, as we told it, the convicted former mayor has been managing the political campaign,” said journalist Daniel Coronell on Wednesday, who has reported that at the last moment the Prosecutor’s Office prevented the transfer of Suarez Corzo to Bogota. “Or rather, several political campaigns for deputies, councilors and also those of Leonardo Jacome for the Mayor of Cucuta and William Villamizar for the Government of Norte de Santander,” he detailed in his daily report on W Radio.

“This environment of violence, pressure and hostility against the regional press is indicative of the risk to which journalists who cover electoral issues are exposed,” adds FLIP, insisting on “the need for there to be a clear and timely articulation between the Ministry of the Interior, the Public Force, the National Protection Unit (UNP) and the Prosecutor’s Office to address this risk, based on institutional support strategies, at all levels, for journalistic work and including the implementation of protection measures for journalists at high risk.”

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In the last six years, the foundation has documented at least 10 threats and other attacks directed at journalists from The opinion. Norte de Santander, on a turbulent border, is one of the places hardest hit by the armed conflict of more than half a century that Colombia seeks to leave behind, and the Cucuta newspaper has suffered violence on more than one occasion. In 1993, the director and founder of the newspaper, Eustorgio Colmenares Baptista, Estefania’s grandfather, was murdered by the ELN guerrilla in a crime that was declared a crime against humanity.

In the 2019 elections, FLIP reported 44 violations of press freedom, including 12 threats against journalists. This is an impact on the functioning of democracy, as the Electoral Observation Mission warns in its risk map report: “It is important to guarantee the journalistic activity of the media during this period because the work of the press, under conditions of equity, contributes to information plurality. This plurality is necessary in any democracy so that citizens have the greatest amount of information available at the time of political deliberation,” the NGO states.

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