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Mayor of Yondó, Antioquia, lashes out against journalist

(FLIP/IFEX) - The mayor of Yondó, Antioquia department, has made serious allegations against journalist Teobaldo Resalte, the editor of the weekly "La Verdad" in the neighbouring municipality of Barrancabermeja, Santander department. The allegations began after "La Verdad" published several complaints about corruption within the municipality of Yondó. The journalist also said he has received threats.

The mayor, Jorge Rodríguez Salcedo, has aired accusations against Resalte via radio broadcasts and has accused him of being an "extortionist." The journalist told FLIP that "the accusations have been made in a very aggressive and intimidating manner."

Resalte said that, on one occasion, he received an anonymous telephone call in which the caller said that he had been at a meeting in Yondó in which a plan was allegedly formulated to attack the journalist. In addition, on several occasions Resalte has noticed that unknown individuals are loitering around the weekly's offices. On 13 October 2009, the police detained two armed individuals outside the weekly's building. The police, however, subsequently said that the weapon they found was a toy.

The National Police's deputy commander in Magdalena Medio, Major Javier Alexander Parra, told FLIP that the police are providing protection to Resalte.

The mayor of Yondó has been involved in other scandals. Recently, Noticias RCN television station publicised a video in which the mayor was seen giving alcohol to minors. FLIP tried, without success, to contact the mayor.

FLIP is concerned about Resalte's situation and calls on the Barrancabermeja authorities to implement the necessary security measures for the journalist. The organisation also calls on the National Attorney General's Office to conduct an investigation to identify and punish those who are behind the actions against the journalist.

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