Reporters Without Borders

Investigators of murder of community radio boss rush to judgement

Investigators of murder of community radio boss rush to judgement

Published on Tuesday 13 April 2010.
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Reporters Without Borders today condemned a hasty conclusion of a “crime of passion” made by the investigators of the murder of indigenous community radio director Mauricio Medina Moreno, at his home in Ortega in the Tolima department on 11 April.

The judgment was made almost immediately after the discovery of the body of the head of CRIT 98.0 FM Estéreo who had been stabbed 25 times, ruling out any possible link with an armed group that is active in the region, the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

Friends and colleagues of Medina, aged 50, said he had not received any threats that could point to who was behind the killing. This fact and the first results of the investigation could not however justify such an immediate conclusion about the possible motive, it said.

The label “crime of passion” is too often used to avoid investigation of any link with the victim’s work, even to the extent of covering up a case. This has already happened in several other murders of journalists in Colombia.

As a director of a community radio, the kind of media often targeted by the authorities, particularly in conflict areas, Medina ran risks as a result of his work. As a prominent local figure, he promoted his people’s social and cultural welfare in their indigenous language. He also held key roles on the Tolima Regional Indigenous Council (CRIT), for which his media served as an outlet. He was committed to active work on protection of the environment which can also lead to hostility and reprisals.

Indigenous movements are in an exposed position in Colombia as shown by the brief detention by the intelligence services on the eve of the Medina killing, of indigenous leader, Feliciano Valencia in Popayán, in the department of Cauca. Mauricio Medina Moreno is the second journalist to be murdered in Colombia since the start of the year, following that of Clodomiro Castilla Ospina, whose killers are still at large despite strong indications of paramilitary involvement.

Photo : El Tiempo

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