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Colombia9 May 2003

Radio news editor narrowly escapes shooting

Reporters Without Borders today voiced concern about the attempted shooting of radio journalist José Iván Aguilar in Villavivencio in the central-eastern department of Meta on 6 May, just a week after two other journalists were gunned down within 24 hours in other parts of the country.

"We urge you to ensure that this murder attempt is thoroughly investigated, so that those responsible are identified and Aguilar is effectively protected," Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said in a letter to public prosecutor Luis Camilo Osorio.

Noting that the attack came just a week after the murders of journalists Guillermo Bravo Vega on 28 April and Jaime Rengifo Jr. on 29 April, Ménard said it confirmed "the climate of impunity now reigning in Colombia." Four journalists have been killed since the start of the year and about 50 have been killed in the past 10 years, making Colombia the most dangerous country in the western hemisphere for journalists.

The editor of Radio Súper’s news programme "Noticias Ya," Aguilar was driving to work in Villavivencio on 6 May when two men on a motorcycle stopped beside his car and one exclaimed: "It’s the journalist." Three shots were then fired, one of them grazing Aguilar.

Aguilar said he did not know the reason for the attack. He said he had received no threats recently nor had he recently covered any risky subject. He was however threatened several times two years ago. Just over a year ago, on 7 April 2002, a bomb went off near Radio Súper killing 12 people.

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