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Reporter shot dead riding his motorcycle

A Colombian journalist was shot four times and killed on 22 September while riding his motorcycle to cover a story, report the Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP) and other IFEX members.

Diego Rojas Velázquez was killed on his way to the nearby town of Caramanta, Antioquía, after he received a tip about a story, says FLIP. The killer left the scene on Rojas's motorcycle.

A colleague told FLIP that Velázquez covered issues of public interest and legal topics, and did not write controversial stories.

Authorities found his body with four gunshot wounds on a highway, say news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reports that witnesses told local reporters they heard Rojas arguing with several unidentified individuals prior to the gunshots. The reporter's motorcycle was found with the keys in the ignition near the scene of the crime, according to local news reports.

"Although the number of killed journalists has dropped in Colombia over the last five years, the murder of Diego Rojas Velásquez is a reminder of the vulnerable and dangerous conditions for reporters in the interior," said CPJ. CPJ and FLIP are calling for an investigation into the murder.

The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) published an ad on 28 September in more than 400 newspapers throughout the Americas condemning the delay and silence regarding investigations into the August 1999 murder of Colombian journalist Jaime Garzón. The radio commentator and humourist was shot to death by hit men on a motorcycle as he was going to work in downtown Bogotá.

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