Reporters Without Borders is deeply shocked by the murders of freelance photographer Carlos Alberto Jaramillo and his assistant, Julio César García, who were shot dead while driving in their car near the southwestern city of Cali on 21 October.
The motive for this double-killing has not been established but, after a wave of forced departures of journalists in what is one of the more dangerous countries for the media, the organisation fears this could represent a further deterioration in press freedom.
“We offer our condolences to the families and friends of the two photographers, and our thoughts go out to the Association of Journalists of Quindío, of which Jaramillo was a member,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We hope the investigation leads quickly to the identification and punishment of those responsible.”
The organisation added: “Although the motive for their murders has not yet been determined, it raises fears of new attacks on the media, which have already been weakened by the forced departures of several journalists.”
Jaramillo, 50, and García, 43, were on their way from Armenia to Cali to cover a bicycle race when one or more persons opened fire on their car. Jaramillo was hit in the head and chest, and died instantly. García was hit in the left eye and died after being taken to Joaquim Paz Borrero hospital.
The father of four children, Jaramillo worked for four regional newspapers including La Crónica del Quindío and Q’hubo Nuestro Diario. He concentrated on covering sports and some social issues. He had in the past worked in Israel for 10 years.
The Valle del Cauca departmental police told Reporters Without Borders they did not think the murders were linked to the victims’ work as journalists. A friend of Jaramillo, Armenia-based journalist José J. Domínguez, said Jaramillo “survived by taking photos and, for this reason, would not have taken the risk of covering any unusual [crime organisation] stories.” Jaramillo’s family told Reporters Without Borders he had not received any threats.