Channel 2 journalist José Alberto Tejada meets with IACHR Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo: Pedro Vaca Villarreal is the IACHR Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression. In the lower right-hand corner is Javier Garate of PBI-Colombia.

On August 23, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ (IACHR) Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression tweeted: “Today the [Special Rapporteur] listened to the journalist José Alberto Tejada, director of [independent news Channel 2] on the risk reports faced by this communication medium.”

Their tweet highlights: “This Office reiterates its call to the State to respect, protect and guarantee the free exercise of journalism.”

This meeting follows a series of threats against Tejada.

The Medellín-based online newspaper Colombia Reports has commented: “Tejada went from being a local journalist to a national icon after a series of reports in which Canal 2 exposed evidence police colluded with armed civilians and committed all kinds of crimes against humanity to quell anti-government protests in Cali.”

Infobae has reported: “On June 4, the Foundation for Freedom of the Press (Flip) expressed its concern for the safety of the journalists of Channel 2, José Alberto Tejada and Jhonatan Buitrago. In the midst of coverage of demonstrations in Cali, Esmad agents fired in the direction of the journalists, even though they were fully identified as the press.”

That article adds: “In the last few hours, a new alert was released about an alleged sicarial [hitman] plan that was launched against this journalist.”

It also describes security incidents on June 22, June 30, July 2 and July 6.

On August 12, Contagio Radio reported: “One of the most worrying incidents reported by [human rights] organizations occurred on August 7 in the early morning hours. According to the complaint around 1:30 a.m. in the vicinity of Alberto Tejada’s family home, a person on a motorcycle drew a gun when he was identified by security personnel.”

That article adds: “In that same week, the same security team identified a man who was guarding Tejada’s residence and who, when he was identified in June, went to a commercial establishment where several police officers were present who, after the man’s arrival on a motorcycle, left the scene.”

And on August 16, the Inter-Church Commission on Justice and Peace noted: “On Sunday August 15 at 10:30 a.m. in Cali, at the residence of Channel 2 journalist José Alberto Tejada, two members of the RAP Peace protection group were approached by the patrolman Quiñonez with identification number 531168 and the patrol Mosquera with identification 657773 of the National Police who arrived at the place on a motorcycle and requested a search and identification documents.”

“This new security incident against Tejada indicates the existence of a persecution plan with psychological operations, sabotage, follow-ups and intimidation.”

It adds: “Since April 28, irregular police actions have been filed against the journalist of Channel 2 that seek to limit the right to free expression, question the news information, delegitimize the complaints made, financially stifle this medium.”

On June 16, PBI-Colombia tweeted: “Thank you to the European Union Delegation in Colombia and to the Norwegian, Canadian and UK embassies in Colombia, for holding a meeting with the Justice and Peace Commission and Jose Alberto Tejada from Canal 2 TV to address the situation of attacks on press freedom in Cali and direct work with young people in the framework of the national strike.”

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