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Journalist assaulted in Cali

(FLIP/IFEX) - On 5 October 2009, Álvaro Miguel Mina, a reporter for Caracol Radio and a correspondent for the "Q' hubo" newspaper in the city of Cali, Valle del Cauca, was assaulted by an unknown individual.

The journalist was doing a report for Caracol Radio when the incident occurred. He was asking people what they thought about the reduced bus service on Cali's Sixth Avenue. An individual approached Mina, rebuked him for criticising the mayor of Cali, Jorge Iván Ospina, and began to punch the journalist. The assailant, who was carrying a sharp, pointed weapon, then fled the scene.

Mina suffered some serious injuries, including to his knee, and his clothes were torn.

In a press release, Mayor Ospina condemned the attack on Mina and called on citizens to respect the right to freedom of expression.

Colonel Miguel Ángel Bojacá Rojas, head of the Cali Metropolitan Police, told FLIP that a few hours after the incident the assailant turned himself in and admitted that he had punched the journalist. According to the police officer, the incident is being investigated by the Judicial Police.

FLIP said the assault was a violation of press freedom and called for greater respect for the press. The organisation urged the local authorities to promptly investigate the assault on Mina and ensure that reporters are provided with protection.

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