Sign up for weekly updates

IAPA asks attorney general to look into threats to journalist

(IAPA/IFEX) - MIAMI, Florida (August 18, 2009) - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today asked the Colombian Attorney General's Office "not to ignore, but to investigate to the logical conclusion" complaints of attacks and threats presented by a prominent local television journalist.

Holman Morris, host of the TV program "Contravía" (The Wrong Way), said that since 2004 he has been unsuccessfully filing formal complaints with the Colombian Attorney General's Office of being followed and threatened and having his phone wiretapped. He specifically blames the Security Administrative Department (DAS), the state intelligence agency belonging to the Colombian President's Office.

Morris said the action against him, his wife and children are part of a campaign "to restrict or neutralize his activities," according to information in the hands of the Attorney General's Office which caused him to leave the country between 2007 and 2008.

In a message to the IAPA, Morris declared that he still does not know of any result of investigations by the Attorney General's Office, not only concerning the recent wiretapping of other journalists, judges and members of the opposition, but also previous threats to him, such as the sending of a funeral wreath to his home in May 2005 after he reported on the San José de Apartadó massacre, the appearance of an anonymous video that maligned him, and being chased by a motorcyclist allegedly acting under DAS orders.

IAPA President Enrique Santos Calderón, of the Bogotá, Colombia, newspaper El Tiempo, declared, "it is very necessary not to ignore, but to investigate these acts to their logical conclusion, especially when we are facing an attack that is increasingly serious due to being committed from within or with the compliance of the government."

The United Nations and Organization of American States special rapporteurs for freedom of the press have commented on the Morris case, while the IAPA on February 10 this year criticized the use by President Alvaro Uribe and members of his cabinet of the phrase "terrorism's friend" in describing Morris because he had meddled in the negotiation to free hostages abducted by Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) leftwing guerrillas.

Latest Tweet:

Here's the story of how a group of young people are monitoring & documenting cases of freedom of expression violati…

Get more stories like this

Sign up for our newsletters and get the most important free expression news delivered to your inbox.