The Free Press Foundation (F. L. I. P. in Spanish)[1] sent this message to a regional periodical, “El Heraldo de Urabá” on December 26, 2017:

A month has passed since “Inglaterra” was killed.

The “Clan del Golfo”[2] censors the press in the Antioquia Province part of Urabá.

A month after the death of Orlando Padierna, alias “Inglaterra”, F.L.I.P issued a statement about the reference by the brother of the member of the Clan del Golfo to the press in general and specifically to the members of the communications media in Urabá who were present to cover his funeral.

The following is the complete statement made by F.L.I.P. and posted on their web site:

The Free Press Foundation – F.L.I.P. – reports to public opinion about the existence of a generalized censorship situation directed at the press by the Clan del Golfo in the Antioquia Province part of Urabá.

Last November 27 there was a funeral for one of the bosses of the Clan del Golfo, alias “Inglaterra”. It was held in the Municipality of Carepa, Antioquia Province.  In the middle of the procession to the cemetery, “Inglaterra’s” brother made some accusations against the communications media. F.L.I.P. has learned of a video in which he made this tirade to the crowd, claiming: “This country is the way it is because of the communications media, because they say ‘they’re saying this’ and ‘they’re saying that’, but they’re not telling the truth ( . . .) They’re saying what the prosecutors and the media tell them to say,” he claimed.

Even though this tirade doesn’t constitute a direct threat by itself, it does identify a risky situation for those who work for the local communications media. The context of a big crowd, the strong presence of members of the Clan del Golfo at the funeral, and the context of violence, demand an interpretation of the words of “Inglaterra”s” brother as an act intended to threaten the press.

The strong presence and strong control by drug trafficking organizations and paramilitary groups in the region imposes self-censorship and prohibits coverage of subjects that are relevant to members of the public. The tirades he flung out at the funeral could be interpreted as an instigation, an invitation, or an authorization to third parties to attack the press in Urabá.

F.L.I.P. is concerned about the security situation for reporters who cover public order in the municipalities in the region, especially in these next months, with the congressional elections coming up. Besides that, there has not been any response by the authorities to this serious situation. Three weeks have gone by since we heard these accusations and still the Mayor’s Office or the Police in Carepa have not criticized these events; nor have they taken any actions to protect reporters.

F.L.I.P. calls out to the authorities to take some measures to guarantee the exercise of journalism in Urabá. The Foundation calls on the Public Defender’s Office to accompany reporters, on the Police to guarantee the safety of reporters, and especially on the Mayor’s Office to publicly condemn these accusations and take active preventive measures in the face of this situation, in order to avoid aggressive acts against the press in the future.

Urabá is Silenced

In recent days, F.L.I.P. has documented threats, harassment, physical attacks, and obstruction of the press in the Urabá region. Since 2010, the Foundation has documented 20 attacks in the region. One of those was the murder of the journalist Luis Eduardo Gómez because he denounced the connections between paramilitaries and politicians and government officials in the northeastern part of the country.

Urabá has been silenced for years about the conflict. F.L.I.P. reports that 25% of the population of that region are right now living in municipalities that are silenced.  They live in places where communications media that produce local news do not exist. In addition, in Urabá, drug traffickers have co-opted entities with political and economic power and that constitutes a de facto power that creates an obstacle to the free flow of ideas and information.

[1] (Translator information) The Fundación para la Libertad de Prensa (F.L.I.P.) is a Colombian nongovernmental organization that keeps track of violations of freedom of the press. See

[2] “Clan del Golfo” (“The Gulf Clan) is a Colombian drug trafficking gang.

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