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PRESS FREEDOM VIOLATIONS ON THE WANE IN COLOMBIA, SAYS FLIP

Good news from Colombia: there were fewer press freedom violations in the first half of 2008 in Colombia than over the same period last year - likely because 2008 is not an election year, a new report by the Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP) has found.

From January to June, FLIP recorded 63 cases of violations - a 27 percent decrease from the first six months of 2007. Death threats remain the most common form of violations (with 38 cases recorded), especially for journalists reporting on the armed conflict, corruption at the local and departmental levels, or recent national political scandals.

Sixteen cases of physical attacks were registered - many at the hands of demonstrators during a national march against violence in March, and a protest of motorcycle-taxi drivers in Sucre in April. No journalists were murdered because of their work.

In the port city of Barrancabermeja, Santander, and in Saravena in the department of Arauca, FLIP found the press freedom situation especially worrying. "Demobilised" paramilitaries and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas have been overwhelmingly responsible for threats and assaults against journalists in the two cities in recent months.

Read the full report here (Spanish only): http://www.flip.org.co/veralerta.php?idAlerta=309

(30 July 2008)

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