Denunciation of political and administrative corruption and of the actions of paramilitary groups are the main motives in the cases of the murder of 59 journalists due to their work in Colombia between 1993 and 2009, a study on the subject shows.
Of the 59 – among them four women – killed because of their work as journalists in the last 16 years 22 had been exposing corruption shortly before their death. In many of these cases the exposures concerned public officials and the actions of paramilitaries (16 cases) in vast regions of the country.
Other murdered journalists had published denunciations of guerrillas in eight cases, of drug traffickers in another eight, concerning the Army and/or security forces in four cases, and of other unlawful activities in six cases.
The study of the 59 murders committed due to the victims’ work, investigated by the IAPA’s Rapid Response Unit (RRU) in Colombia, showed that the paramilitaries are believed to have been responsible in 13 cases, politicians in 10, guerrillas in eight, drug traffickers in eight, and members of the security forces in four. In another six cases the perpetrators are unknown.
The figures do not add up to 59 because in many cases those allegedly guilty of the same murder may be both politicians and paramilitaries, for example these acted together in six cases, politicians and guerrillas in one case, and government officials and paramilitaries in three.
The regions of the country with the largest number of murders are: Valle del Cauca, 10; Santander, seven; Huila, five; Bogotá, four; Magdalena, four; Arauca and Cesar three each; Norte de Santander, Cauca, Quindío, Bolívar, Nariño, Sucre, Tolima and Putumayo two each, and Antioquia, Caquetá, Caldas, Guajira, Córdoba, Chocó and Atlántico with one each.