Media Defence has filed an amicus curiae brief at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in the case of Jineth Bedoya v Colombia.
In May 2000, award-winning journalist Jineth Bedoya (who is known for her reporting on the activities of Colombia’s paramilitary groups) visited the infamous Modelo prison in Bogotá to interview a prisoner.
While outside the prison, she was abducted, then tortured and subjected to a serious sexual assault. She was subsequently released hundreds of kilometres away from the city. After this took place, the Colombian authorities failed to carry out an effective investigation. As a consequence, Ms Bedoya’s case has become synonymous with the impunity that pervades Colombia’s justice system.
Colombia’s Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP) is representing Ms Bedoya. The case has reached the Inter-American Court and a 3-day hearing is scheduled to begin on 15 March 2021.
Media Defence’s brief focuses on international human rights standards that apply in contexts of violence against journalists, specifically women journalists. This includes the State’s duty to provide particular protection to women journalists. The brief also identifies the necessary safeguards for allowing women journalists to engage in what should be routine journalistic activity. This also takes into account the levels of violence they face in their day-to-day work. Particularly, the brief highlights how sexual violence against women journalists and impunity in such cases creates a chilling effect on freedom of expression.
“Where journalists are attacked with impunity, other perpetrators are emboldened to commit similar attacks, and intimidate them into silence. Where those attacks are committed against women journalists it is essential that states put in place practical and effective mechanisms to hold perpetrators to account.”
Pádraig Hughes, Legal Director, Media Defence
Read the intervention here.
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