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Television station director forced to leave Antioquia after attempt on his life and further intimidation

(FLIP/IFEX) - The following is a 14 July 2005 joint statement:

Foundation for Press Freedom
Solidarity Centre of the International Federation of Journalists
Institute for Press and Society
Reporters Without Borders

Journalist Julián Alberto Ochoa Restrepo, director of AUPAN television channel in the town of Andes, Antioquia, left the region on 13 July 2005 after a 23 May attempt on his life, as well as threats and surveillance since then.

The attempt took place at La Carbonera school near Andes. A hitman entered the school, spoke with Ochoa and shot him. The journalist pushed his assailant away and fled, as the hitman continued firing at him. Ochoa was wounded in the throat and right arm.

Residents of the area took him to the Andes hospital. Given the possibility of another attempt on his life, the police moved the journalist to Antioquia's capital, Medellín.

Ochoa told FLIP that he decided to leave Antioquia altogether and seek safety elsewhere in the country after several people informed him that strangers had been asking about his whereabouts.

Ochoa took over as AUPAN's director in August 2004. He directed various news and variety programmes. In addition to his television work, he was a professor at the University of Antioquia and taught Spanish and literature at the school where the attempt on his life took place.

FLIP's investigation suggests that the murder attempt may have occurred in response to a rumour that Ochoa had worked with a national journalist on an article regarding corruption, which might threaten the interests of particular groups in the region.

Foundation for Press Freedom - FLIP
Instituto Prensa y Sociedad
International Federation of Journalists
Reporters Without Borders

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