Threats to indigenous community media amid demonstrations against Uribe government

From Reporters without borders

Indigenous community media in Cauca department southern Colombia have been experienced paralysing and mysterious technical problems preventing or slowing news coverage as indigenous demonstrations degenerated into clashes with security forces. Journalist Silsa Arias of the National Indigenous Organisation of Colombia (Onic) told Reporters Without Borders that its server had suffered repeating hacking attacks and blocking of web pages between 17-19 October. Community radios have been hit by power cuts that have taken programmes off air. "We are expressing our concerns about these incidents, particularly because in every case they happen exactly at the time when news is being broadcast about abuses by security forces during demonstrations," the worldwide press freedom organisation said. "We also condemn the attitude of the government which, by putting the indigenous communities in the same category as the Farc guerrillas, expose journalists from these communities to harsh reprisals", it added.
These attempts at censorship have fuelled increased tension in the region and demonstrate a determination to silence journalists attending these demonstrations. The security forces have toughened crackdowns on these indigenous movements, which are unhappy that the government has failed to keep its promises on land redistribution. Two people have been killed and 70 injured in violence since 15 September.

Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI  53701-1505
phone:  (608) 257-8753
fax:  (608) 255-6621

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