Cultura y Turismo

Names of El Comercio journalists killed in Colombia are added to Newseum memorial in Washington, D.C.

07/05/2019 Knight Center - Teresa Mioli

The Newseum, a museum dedicated to press freedom and the U.S. First Amendment, will host a rededication of the Journalists Memorial on June 3.

The Journalists Memorial at the Newseum holds the names of press professionals who were killed while working. Photo: Knight Center

The Journalists Memorial at the Newseum holds the names of press professionals who were killed while working. Photo: Knight Center

The late Juan Javier Ortega Reyes and Paúl Rivas Bravo from newspaper El Comercio of Ecuador are among the 21 press professionals whose names will be added to the Journalists Memorial at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Each year, the names of a select group of media workers are added to the memorial at the museum to represent all “who died or were killed in pursuit of the news” that year.

Ortega and Rivas were abducted along with their driver Efraín Segarra on March 26, 2018 on the border between Ecuador and Colombia. Held by the Oliver Sinisterra Front, a dissident group that used to be part of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC, for its initials in Spanish), their deaths were confirmed by the Ecuadorian president on April 13.

With these murders, Colombia became one of the deadliest countries in Latin America for journalists in 2018, just after Mexico, as recorded by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

The collective #NosFaltan3 (We are missing 3), which serves to remember the reporting team and fight for justice in their cases, released a statement regarding their loved ones’ addition to this “tragic list.”

“The biographies and faces of Javier and Paúl, shown there, will be the permanent reminder that narcotrafficking grew in silence on the Colombian-Ecuadorian border, and that it unleashed from this side of the border a war that we believed was foreign. Everything under the evasive glance of the State,” the release said. “After working on countless reports about this area, the journalistic team became the main protagonist of the news, after their abduction, something that should never happen in this line of work.”

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