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For the Freedom of Press...

On the evening of November 19, 2006, the journalist FREDY MUNOZ ALTAMIRANDA, correspondent in Colombia for Canal TELESUR, was detained by agents from the Administrative Department of Security (DAS), when he returned to Colombia after having participated in a TELESUR audiovisual narrative workshop that took place in the neighboring country of Venezuela. By order of the Fifth District Attorney's Office in Barranquilla, FREDY was detained and charged with rebellion.

FREDY MUNOZ has worked in journalism for the last twelve years. He was an editor for the newspapers El Universal and El Periodico, and was a reporter for the television news program 6:25 (all based in Cartagena). He has also produced multiple documentaries for the Tropicos series and TeleCaribe, and audiovisual programming for the Leyendas series by Senal Colombia.

Throughout his career, he has excelled for his independence and, as he stated in a public communique issued from where he is being detained, for proclaiming the truth; and, in our aggrieved Latin American countries, truth is the sun that reveals and removes men from the shadows.

In the voice of the journalist Fredy Munoz, the work performed by Telesur excels at disseminating the social dynamics and struggles laying claim to social and political rights in the Colombia. Throughout Latin America, TELESUR has consolidated as an alternative communication proposal in opposition to the hegemony of the mass media protecting the interests of the powerful economic groups and, in light of the so-called fight against terrorism, legitimizing the persecution of social movements.

The detention of this journalist is a clear illustration of the restrictions to the freedom of press in Colombia. This detention also bears further witness to the persecution subjected upon the voices critical of the current presidential administration and its policy of democratic security.

On these grounds, we request that the relevant authorities:

1. Respect the life and physical and psychological integrity of the journalist; 2. Respect due process and the right to defense (and in this respect transfer the case to the city of Bogota; 3. Respect the free exercise of the freedom of expression.

Source: CAJAR lawyers' collective

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