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Colombia16 August 2005

Threats force TV news journalist to flee the country

Reporters Without Borders voiced concern today that months of anonymous threats finally forced Daniel Coronell, the producer of the Noticias Uno TV news programme on Canal Uno in Bogotá and a reporter for the magazine Semana, to decide to flee Colombia on 14 August.

"Coronell is a well-known press critic of the government and his departure represents a serious blow to the right to information in Colombia," the press freedom organisation said.

A wave of anonymous phone and e-mail threats against Coronell had stepped up in April, with some of the threats targeting his six-year-old daughter. In May, he received two funeral wreaths bearing the names of his wife and daughter, as well as his own name.

In an interview for the El Tiempo daily newspaper, he said decided to leave the country after learning that his daughter was going to the same school as the son of former parliamentarian Carlos Nader Simmonds, whom he had named in June as the source of the threats against him.

"I prefer to go than stay silent," he said in the interview. Coronell is the seventh journalist to be forced to leave the country or home region since the start of the year.

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