Colombian journalists tear gassed, threatened in relation to protest coverage

A Colombian journalist was hit with two tear gas canisters as he covered student protests at a university in the capital city of Bogotá, while two regional media directors received death threats after one was attacked in a different protest, Periodistas en Español reports.

Omar Vera, the director of Periódico El Turbión newspaper, was with a CNN correspondent and a freelance photographer when a tear gas canister landed in his backpack and a second hit him in the chest soon after, Eje21 explains.

The president of the Colombian Federation of Journalists (Fecolper), Eduardo Márquez, said he regretted that it has “become customary for the police to attack journalists covering protests…with the clear goal of blocking information from reaching the citizenry.”

Fecolper also reports that the directors of Radio Lumbí and El Puente newspaper in Mariquita, Tolima, Olver Escobar and Luis Fernando Montoya, respectively, received death threats. According to El Nuevo Dia, the presumed perpetrators of an attack on Escobar while he was covering a mid-March protest demanded he stop asking the police to investigative and warned Montoya that “his time has come.”

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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.