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Journalist assaulted and threatened in Putumayo

(FLIP/IFEX) - On Sunday 5 October 2008, Mishelle Johana Muñoz, a journalist and announcer for the program 'Latina Estéreo' in the city of Puerto Asís, Putumayo, was brutally beaten by a person who entered the facilities. Several days prior, Muñoz had received threats that demanded that she stop supporting the national campaign to increase the sentences for people who sexually abuse children.

Around 7:00 a.m. (local time), Muñoz was alone in the station when a stranger burst in. Without saying a word, the stranger punched her in the head and face and held her neck against the wall. Before fleeing, the person showed her a revolver and told her, "I won't kill you because I don't feel like it." The assailant then warned her that she had 72 hours to stop supporting the campaign and leave the city.

The journalist was treated at the local hospital for multiple injuries and bruises to her face and body.

One week prior to the attack, Muñoz also received a phone call and a text message insisting that she stop supporting the campaign for life imprisonment for sexual offenders.

A local journalist told FLIP that the police had been negligent in the case. Muñoz had asked for the police to escort her to the station for 5 October but on that particular day the police never arrived. Additionally, the radio station is situated in front of the police station.

The police chief has said that they are working to track down the assailant.

FLIP expresses its concern over the threats and aggression directed at Mishelle Johana Muñoz and exhorts the police and judicial authorities to give Muñoz the appropriate protection and investigate the perpetrator of this act. As part of the right to free expression, journalists and the media can support citizen initiatives that they consider to be in the public interest.

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