Colombian police attack journalist, erase information from his camera and cell phone

By Liliana Honorato

Police attacked a Colombian journalist who was trying to cover a bank robbery in the city of Barranquilla, in northern Colombia, reported the newspaper El Espectador.

After a police officer told him that he didn't believe he was a journalist, Ronald Avellaneda, reporter for the news site Zonacero.info, tried to defend himself while the police took the journalist's camera and cell phone and started to attack him, and other police also approached him to attack him, reported the newspaper El Universal.

The information from the journalist's cell phone and camera were erased.

According to the newspaper El Heraldo, although the journalist had his identification card and press vest, the police still detained him. The journalist was freed after signing a settlement.

The journalist's equipment still was not returned even after the Colombian Federation of Journalists reported the attack on Wednesday, July 11, hours after it happened. The Atlantic Association of Social Communicators protested and demanded respect for press freedom in view of attacks against journalists on the part of authorities since authorities are supposed “to guarantee and protect citizens rights.”

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.