Reporters Without Borders calls for a full investigation into the murder of the newspaper seller José Darío Arenas, shot dead two days ago as he started work in the morning in Caicedonia, a town in the western department of Valle del Cauca.
“The murder of this newspaper seller is a cruel reminder that the lives of all those involved in news and information in Colombia are at risk, whether journalists, media workers or community broadcasters,” the press freedom organization said.
“The crime comes towards the end of a violent year for journalists, marked by national strikes in August and the murders of two radio broadcasters for reasons as yet undetermined. Once again, links to the victim’s work must be explored in this latest case.”
Darío, who worked for the newspaper EXTRA del Quindío, was calling out the day’s first local news stories when he was shot repeatedly. Shortly afterwards, the newspaper received an ominous phone call saying “first one down!” according to the Press Freedom Foundation. EXTRA del Quindío had just published an article exposing management irregularities in Caicedonia prison. According to local sources, the murder was believed to be linked to the article’s publication.
The high level of impunity in Colombia is exacerbated by the slowness of proceedings, which means the statute of limitations may expire. On the day Darío was killed, the investigation into the murder of radio journalist Manuel José Martínez Espinosa passed the fateful 20-year limit.