In a letter to Justice Minister Rómulo González Trujillo, RSF expressed its indignation over the 23 January 2002 murder of Marco Antonio Ayala Cárdenas, photographer from "El Caleño" daily. "Although the exact motive for the assassination is still unknown, this journalist is yet another victim of the violence plaguing journalists in Colombia," stated RSF Secretary-General Robert Ménard. "This country holds the sad record for assassinations of journalists in Latin America," Ménard added. RSF asked the justice minister to do everything possible to ensure that those responsible are identified and brought to trial. According to information collected by RSF, on 23 January, Ayala Cárdenas, photographer from "El Caleño", was shot to death outside the newspaper’s offices by two individuals who were riding a motorcycle. Ayala Cárdenas had been working for "El Caleño" for the last four years, reporting on sports and social issues. In recent weeks however, he had been assisting the newspaper’s legal matters team.
Since 1991, more than forty Colombian journalists have been killed while carrying out their professional duties, as a result of the civil war as well as the endemic violence plaguing the country.