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October 23, 2014
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Journalist threatened after former leader’s tweet

BOGOTÁ — A journalist thrust to the forefront of Colombia’s election campaign by former president Álvaro Uribe has received threats to his life, it has been revealed. The news which has led the national government to launch a full investigation into the matter.

Juan Carlos Giraldo, a reporter for television station RCN, started receiving anonymous phone calls and text messages threatening his life and that of his family’s earlier this week, after Uribe posted on Twitter that the journalist had evidence of electoral fraud in Colombia’s presidential campaign, which ended on Sunday.

The former president and senator posted on his account, @AlvaroUribeVel, that Giraldo had proof the National Registry (of voters) was going to commit fraud in order to enable President Juan Manuel Santos to win re-election. Uribe has often repeated the claim and still was yesterday, despite Santos’ victory in a runoff on Sunday against Oscar Iván Zuluaga.

The closest Uribe has come to providing proof was in the aforementioned tweet concerning Giraldo.

“Alarm: Juan Carlos Giraldo, (of) RCNTV, says the National Registry will fix Santos’ re-election by filling out cards that fill the margin of error,” he posted.

Giraldo denied having any information regarding such a story and said he had subsequently received threats. “I confess I am scared,” Giraldo posted on Twitter this week, adding that he has “never affirmed or accused the National Registry of corruption in favour of Santos.”

Uribe however, continued to urge Giraldo to speak out and “take advantage of his contacts,” despite the journalist’s protestations that he knew nothing about electoral fraud. The former president continued to press his claims yesterday, even after Zuluaga conceded defeat.

Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s Office said yesterday “the institution was formally informed about situations that could affect the security and integrity of journalist Juan Carlos Giraldo Palomo and his family.”

The office stated that any kind of threat on a journalist “seriously affects the fundamental rights to freedom of press and expression enshrined in the Constitution of Colombia.”

Herald with online media

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