first_img Receive email alerts October 13, 2010 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Parliament to question former president about illegal phone-tapping, but threats and sabotage could be ignored April 27, 2021 Find out more Follow the news on Colombia October 21, 2020 Find out more ColombiaAmericas Help by sharing this information Organisation News News RSF_en center_img The investigation into illegal telephone-tapping by the Colombian intelligence agency known as the Administrative Department of Security (DAS) entered a new phase yesterday when the House of Representatives initiated a procedure that could result in former President Alvaro Uribe being questioned about his presumed involvement.Uribe originally denied any role in the misuse of the intelligence services to combat criticism of his so-called “democratic security” policies during his two terms. The phone-tapping and other dirty tricks by DAS were the subject of a Reporters Without Borders country-visit and report last May. According to documents we saw, a total of 16 journalists from 10 news media were among the targets.We take note of this initiative by the House of Representatives, of which the potential judicial consequences appear to be limited. We also take note of the latest advances in the investigation but we think they are insufficient. The “DASgate” scandal was not limited to illegal phone tapping. On the one hand, it consisted of infiltration of the state intelligence services by paramilitary groups. The spying on politicians, judges, trade unionists, human rights activists and journalists was accompanied by acts of intimidation, sabotage, censorship and misuse of the protection given to those who had been threatened.The targets included Radio Nizkor journalist Claudia Julieta Duque, who was constantly followed and was the victim of a strange car “accident” in 2008, and Hollman Morris, the producer of Contravía, one of the few current affairs programmes to tackle sensitive issues such as the civil war, indigenous land disputes and human rights, which was repeatedly suspended by state-owned Canal Uno. The targets also included Canal Uno journalists Ignacio Gómez and Daniel Coronell. A highly suspect break-in and computer robbery – the fifth in three years – recently occurred at Gómez’s home. While president, Uribe publicly criticised and smeared Coronell, exposing him to danger.All these and other journalists suffered the effects of the “black propaganda” orchestrated by the intelligence services with the presidential palace’s direct approval. Some of these journalists have had to go into exile to escape the threats. Morris is currently residing in the United States under an academic programme.These serious abuses were not among the grounds for the disciplinary measures taken on 1 October against nine senior officials including three former DAS chiefs – Jorge Noguera Cotes, Andrés Peñate Giraldo and María del Pilar Hurtado – and former presidential chief of staff Bernardo Moreno, who has been banned from holding public office for 18 years for illegal phone-tapping.The case brought by the attorney-general’s office did not mention the journalists and other known DAS victims and did not include the statements they have made. This omission was the subject of an appeal that Duque’s lawyer filed with the directorate for special investigations of the attorney-general’s office on 6 October. Reporters Without Borders, which has been given a copy, calls on attorney-general’s office to study it carefully and to order an additional investigation.The activities carried out by DAS officials, including those at the highest level, require criminal prosecutions as well as administrative sanctions. Reporters Without Borders undertakes to support any attempts by the journalists concerned to obtain reparation. We also hope former President Uribe’s testimony to parliament will at the very least help to establish the facts. The Colombian public has right to know the whole truth. 2011-2020: A study of journalist murders in Latin America confirms the importance of strengthening protection policies May 13, 2021 Find out more Reports to go further RSF begins research into mechanisms for protecting journalists in Latin America ColombiaAmericas RSF, IFEX-ALC and Media Defence, support FLIP and journalist Diana Díaz against state harassment in Colombia Newslast_img read more