Journalist Rafael Moreno, director of a digital newspaper in northern Colombia who had been threatened for his research, was killed by hired assassins on the night of Oct. 16, an NGO and police said Monday (Oct. 17).
The reporter ran the media outlet ‘Voces de Córdoba,’ which specializes in information about the department of Colombia and is based in the municipality of Montelíbano, where he was shot.
“We are aware that [Moreno] was involved in several investigations involving criminal and disciplinary charges,” the Cordoberxia Social Foundation wrote in a statement.
According to Colonel John Fredy Suárez of the Cordoba police, the journalist was in a public facility when he was shot by “two people” on a motorcycle.
In a brief message posted on Facebook, the online newspaper lamented that “the voice of truth” had been erased “forever.”
In September 2022, Moreno denounced the cancellation of the protection program with bodyguards provided to him by the Colombian state, despite the threats he had received.
Among other things, he investigated the establishment of an “illegal quarry” on the property of a senator, from which he believed the material was extracted for the construction of public buildings.
The special rapporteur on the right to freedom of expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Pedro Vaca, condemned the murder on Twitter.
“It is reported that his protection program has been withdrawn, and this underscores the duty to investigate and punish those responsible,” Vaca said.
The prosecutor’s office announced the formation of a special team to investigate the crime and find the shooters.
According to the latest report by the Colombian nongovernmental organization Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP), violence against journalists in Colombia increased in 2021, resulting in 768 victims of some type of aggression that year.