I’m in Colombia to give a talk tomorrow at a media conference sponsored by Andiarios, Colombia’s national newspaper association, and the U.S. State Department (which is paying for this trip). El Tiempo, the big local daily paper, ran a pre-conference interview, translated from English to Spanish by the paper’s manager of new media, Guillermo Franco, whom I met when he was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard several years ago.
I’ll be talking mainly about citizen media, of course, but in the context of freedom of speech and of the press. Such traditions, which we take for granted in the United States, aren’t as universal in Latin America, among other places where telling people the truth can bring genuine danger to the truth-teller.
It does here. The political situation, which is becoming more stable, is hardly calm, and journalists are on the front lines of the conflicts. As Reporters Without Borders notes in its 2007 report on Colombia, three journalists were killed and many others were forced to leave their regions or even the country after being threatened.
(Corrections to my earlier spelling on Colombian geography. This is inexcusable, and I apologize.)