On Sunday, two journalists were shot and killed by people on a motorcycle in Colombia. Police said that the two were coming back from covering a carnival. Leiner Montero Ortega, 37, and Dilia Contreras Cantillo, 39, both worked for a news website called Sol Digital, which was based in the northern town of Fundacion on the Caribbean coast.
Andres Serna, the head of police in the department of Magdalena, said that they were Leiner Montero Ortega and Dilia Contreras Cantillo. Later, Serna called a meeting of police officials in Fundacion to talk about the situation.
Serna said that the journalists were on their way back to Fundacion from the town of Santa Rosa de Lima, where they had been covering a street festival when they were shot. He said that another person was hurt, but it’s not clear if this person was also a journalist or a regular person.
The police think that the shooting happened because of a fight or argument at the carnival. But the Free Press Foundation asked police to look into the crime “in light of Leiner and Dilia’s work as journalists.” Last year, 768 journalists in Colombia were hurt in some way, including being killed, according to the foundation.
“We promised the people of Magdalena that we would solve this sad case involving two journalists who were respected by their union, family, and friends as soon as possible,” Serna said.
The government says that Fundacion is one of the worst places in Colombia when it comes to violence, poverty, economic activity in the black market, and weak government institutions. Since a peace deal with the leftist FARC rebels was signed in 2016, 10 journalists have been killed in Colombia, according to AFP.
Reporters Without Borders says that after Venezuela and Mexico, Colombia is the third most dangerous country in Latin America for journalists. A senior researcher at Human Rights Watch named Juan Pappier said, “We don’t agree with the killing of journalists.”