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Colombia17 August 2005

Grenade attack on provincial daily

Reporters Without Borders voiced outrage at a grenade attack on the premises of the El Informador daily newspaper in the northern city of Santa Marta on 15 August. The explosion caused considerable damage but no injuries.

"This new attack confirms how dangerous it is for journalists to work in Colombia," the press freedom organisation said. "We call on the local authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into this attack and we reiterate our request to the national authorities for measure to protect journalists, so that news reporting does not disappear in Colombia."

The grenade was thrown from a motorcycle in the evening, exploding near the main news office where four employees were working. Fortunately, none of them were injured, but El Informador editor Paulina Vives estimated the damage at more than 15 million pesos (about 5,000 euros).

Vives said it was hard to guess the motives for the attack as neither the newspaper nor its journalists have received any prior threats.

The Magdalena department police chief, Col. Fredy de Jesús Pacheco Escobar, said an investigation was under way to catch those responsible and establish their motives.

Reporters Without Borders has registered at least seven physical attacks on Colombian news media since the start of the year, as well as 15 cases of physical attacks or kidnappings of journalists, or journalists being forced by threats to leave the region where they work.

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