On June 8, less than two weeks after assailants attempted to burn TV director Mario Esteban López alive, he received threats telling him he could be killed if he stayed in the Ecuador-Colombia border city of Ipiales, El Observador reports.
The journalist was kidnapped and covered with gasoline May 31 and allegedly linked the attack to the city’s mayor, who responded by accusing López of “libel” and “slander,” Reporters Without Borders (RSF) explains.
The harassment began when López started covering “sensitive local issues,” including public safety administration and actions by community members against drug dealers in their neighborhood in the absence of police presence, Terra adds.
RSF called on the authorities to protect the journalist: “Instead of suing him, why didn’t the municipal government come to his help immediately after the 31 May attack? And why didn’t the mayor accept López’s offer to come and defend himself on López’s TV station?”
Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.