U.S. reverses decision and grants visa to Colombian journalist Morris

By Ingrid Bachmann

Renowned journalist Hollman Morris can now travel to the United States and attend Harvard University as a Nieman Fellow, after the Department of State decided to grant Morris the student visa that it had originally denied him, the Nieman Foundation reports.

Journalism and human rights groups in the Americas came together to demand the government reconsider its initial decision, in which it ruled Morris permanently ineligible for a visa under the "terrorist activities" section of the Patriot Act.

Among those that lobbied U.S. government officials in support of Morris are the Nieman Foundation, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the ACLU, the Open Society Institute, the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, the Inter American Press Association, the Knight FoundationHuman Rights Watch, the PEN American Center, the Washington Office on Latin America, the North American Congress for Latin America, and 31 University of Texas professors.

Nieman Foundation curator Bob Giles was satisfied with the resolution to the case. “His valuable expertise and insights will be a welcome addition to our new class of Nieman Fellows,” Giles said.

Morris directs the award-winning television program Contravía, which presents a critical view of Colombia's armed conflict and President Álvaro Uribe’s administration. His work in defense of human rights and the victims of violence has won him several honors – the most recent coming in June for his “courageous dedication to truth and democracy.”

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.