Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Risks of Reporting

Londoño's bombed car - it's amazing more people weren't killed.

Theirs were very different histories, styles and viewpoints - but both show why it's still risky to be a journalist in Colombia.

Romeo Langlois is a youngish French journalist held by the FARC guerrillas, who siezed him after he fled during a firefight while accompanying Colombian soldiers.

Fernando Londoño and ex-Pres. Alvaro Uribe
Fernando Londoño was interior minister for Pres. Alvaro Uribe and continues being a fervent defender of all things Uribista - as well as of the military, Catholicism, business interests and everything conservative. I've sometimes listened to his morning radio show, which is egoistically named 'The Hour of Truth,' and read his newspaper columns, and I disagree with most of what he says, including most of his political opinions as well as his addiction to automobiles and love for golf - an elitist, environmentally-destructive excuse for a sport. Nevertheless, Londoño has every right to express his opinions, and those undoubtedly were part of the reason that a would-be assassin jumped from a motorcycle and attached a bomb to Londoño's car the other day. The bomb killed two of Londoño's bodyguards and injured dozens of people on the street, but only lightly wounded Londoño himself.

Romeo Langlois at work. 
Agree with him or not, Londoño had every right to express his views, which contributed to public debate.

Colombia is much less dangerous for journalists than someplace like Mexico, where drug violence is raging. And, Colombia has become much safer than it was in decades past, when Pablo Escobar and other narcos intimidated and murdered journalists who didn't write what they were told to.

Langlois' and Londoño's travails are reminders of why we should be grateful to the people take risks to provide us with news, analyze it and opinionate on it, in newspapers, radio, television and on the 'net.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours


Ito said...

More left wing violence and murder. History in on an infinite repeating loop?

Miguel said...

Well, we shouldn't leap to conclusions - but the date, target and guerrilla messages which the government says it intercepted all point to the FARC as the likely bombers.


Miguel said...

But are the FARC left-wing, or just drug-smuggling terrorists?


mauricio forero l said...

So you have to be a leftist to protest this crap of FTA. It could be and independent group. It makes me angry that the left is always the firs target to blame.

Mauricio Forero.

Miguel said...

No, certainly not, but all of those in the protest marches were pretty much leftists. As for the attack against Londoño, we just don't know. It could have been right-wingers trying to sink the 'Marco para la Paz' peace framework bill in Congress.