Colombian journalist who witnessed corruption cases is killed; crimes against press soar

Independent journalist Luis Eduardo Gómez, a witness for prosecutors' investigation into links between politicians and paramilitaries, was killed by two gunmen who shot him from a motorcycle last week in Arboletes, Antioquia, in northwest Colombia, BBC reports.

Gómez, 70, was a collaborator for the newspapers El Heraldo de Urabá and Urabá al día. He was the second witness in the case to be killed in one week and the fourth in eight months, El Tiempo says. On June 27, a community leader who also collaborated in the investigations was also reported killed. Five other witnesses in the case have disappeared, El Heraldo adds.

Gómez's son and collaborator was killed two years ago in circumstances that authorities still have not clarified, Caracol Radio reports. The journalist had been investigating the murder of his son and the management of local public resources, Caracol said.

Gómez had not reported receiving threats, and his wife—who was accompanying him when he was killed— said he wrote about the environment and tourism, El Colombiano newspaper said.

Meanwhile, Semana.com noted that 55 Colombian journalists have been victims of threats in the first half of 2011, while 57 occurred in all of 2010, demonstrating the increasing difficulties to practice journalism in the country's regions.

The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) expressed outrage over the killing and called for a prompt investigation so the case won't go unpunished.

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.