20 October 2005
Two journalists receive death threats in Cartagena
(FLIP/IFEX) - Pedro Luís Mogollón, director of "El Universal" newspaper, and Jacqueline Rhenals, the newspaper's political affairs editor, recently reported that they have been receiving death threats ever since articles on the election in Cartagena appeared in the paper.
The newspaper first reported on the elections on 17 August 2005. That day, Rhenals received a text message on her mobile phone, which read, "For your own safety, you should carefully consider what you say about the elections or you will pay dearly. We have our eye on you."
On 3 October, another text message was sent to Mogollón's mobile phone, saying, "If you continue to support the 'blank vote' [no confidence vote], you and Jacqueline R. will face the consequences. Value your family and your life. This is the second warning." The message was sent after the newspaper's Sunday edition featured the results of an opinion poll on a tie between the number of no confidence votes and the votes for mayoral candidate Nicolás Curi.
Eight days later, another survey was published in the newspaper and a text message was sent to Rhenals' mobile phone, saying, "Bitch, if you don't stop supporting the 'blank vote' your life will be in danger . . . We are not playing here."
Mogollón told FLIP, "The newspaper has not supported the use of the 'blank vote' in its editorials, but we have published academic opinions on the significance of this measure." He added that it was not "El Universal"'s intention to become embroiled in the conflict over the elections.
According to FLIP's information, the authorities are aware of the threats and are adopting security measures so that Mogollón and Rhenals can continue to carry out their work.