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Former mayor and his supporters interrupt radio programme, intimidate journalist

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 28 August 2009, Carlos Quintero Romero, a journalist and co-owner of the Maravilla Estéreo radio station, reported that he feels he is being threatened by Elías Ochoa Daza, the former mayor of the city of Valledupar, in northern Colombia. The actions against Quintero which led to his concern took place after he criticised certain economic measures implemented during Ochoa's time in office. Quintero reported on the actions against him during a broadcast of the "Maravilla Informa" news programme.

According to Quintero, he was speaking during the "Confidenciales" section of his programme when Ochoa, along with two of his bodyguards and several relatives, burst into the station and demanded, using threats and insults, that he stop criticising the former mayor. Even though the journalist granted Ochoa a space in which to speak after the news programme, the individuals who were accompanying him, several of whom were armed, demanded more air time for Ochoa's reply.

Quintero denounced the incident as an attack on freedom of expression, though he did yield to the pressure and invited the former mayor for an interview on 1 September. The journalist asked the authorities to ensure his safety during the interview.

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