HAVANA TIMES — Colombian authorities must thoroughly investigate the killing of journalist Wilder Alfredo Córdoba, determine if he was targeted for his work, and bring those responsible to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Wednesday.
On Monday, November 28, two unidentified men on a motorcycle shot and killed Córdoba while he was on a reporting trip in the village of El Salado, in the southern Colombian department of Nariño, according to news reports.
Córdoba, director of the independent online news outlet Unión Televisión in the town of La Unión, was shot three times, according to those reports, which said that police had ruled out robbery as a motive for the attack because none of the journalist’s belongings had been taken.
“Colombian authorities must immediately open a thorough and transparent investigation into the killing of journalist Wilder Alfredo Córdoba, determine if he was targeted for his reporting, and bring those responsible to justice,” said CPJ Latin America and the Caribbean Program Coordinator Natalie Southwick, in New York. “Local journalists covering corruption in Colombia’s small cities and towns too often face deadly retaliation for their reporting, and officials must act to ensure they can continue informing their communities safely.”
Córdoba often posted news and commentary about local political corruption and crime on Unión Televisión’s Facebook page and on his personal account, and had recently criticized unfinished public works projects and the poor state of local roads, according to the Bogotá-based Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP).
FLIP Director Jonathan Bock told CPJ via messaging app that the journalist had received several threats on social media warning that he would “get into trouble” if he continued publishing his stories. Bock said a FLIP team planned to travel to La Unión to gather more information.
On Tuesday, Unión Television posted a video showing Córdoba’s grieving colleagues gathered around his casket that had been placed inside the TV studio.
The Colombian attorney general’s office said on Twitter that a special team of prosecutors was investigating the attack. CPJ called and messaged the La Unión mayor’s office, the local police department, and Unión Televisión for comment, but did not receive any replies.