Director-General condemns murder of Colombian journalist José Everardo Aguilar

PARIS (RPRN) 5/04/09 –The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the brutal killing of Colombian journalist José Everardo Aguilar in the south western town of Patia, 450 kilometres south of the capital Bogotá, on 24 April.Director-General condemns murder of Colombian journalist José Everardo Aguilar

“I condemn the assassination of veteran reporter José Everardo Aguilar,” said the Director-General. “No democracy can allow guns to silence debate and I am confident that the authorities will spare no effort in pursuing the perpetrators of this crime that affects Colombian society as a whole. This is all the more urgent as increasing attacks on journalists threaten to jeopardize the fundamental human right of freedom of expression in Colombia.”

Seventy-two year old José Everardo Aguilar was an outspoken critic of corruption in his work as a radio reporter. According to the Federation of Journalists from Latin America and the Caribbean (FEPALC) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), he had received continuous threats for denouncing several corruption cases but refused to be silenced.

A reporter for several radio stations, including Bolívar Estéreo and Canal Local del Bordo, José Everardo Aguilar, who was also the correspondent of Radio Súper Popayán, was shot dead at close range in his home.

According to FEPALC, there have been 40 attacks against Colombian journalists since the start of 2009.