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Tue Dec 11, 2018, 05:58 AM

Colombia journalism project aims to bring untold stories of war to light

Reporting was restricted by the remoteness of the war zones and the military’s control of access. Peace is allowing a new approach

Joe Parkin Daniels in Bogotá
Tue 11 Dec 2018 03.00 EST

Like many urban Colombians, Nicolás Sánchez – a young journalist from the country’s capital, Bogotá – never saw the country’s civil war firsthand. Instead, he grew up watching it from afar, in television reports of massacres and gun battles deep in the countryside.

Reporters would often only show the point of view of the military – the only group who could regularly grant them access to the battlefield. Rural Colombians, who bore the brunt of conflict, were often ignored; coverage instead focused on urban incidents such as kidnappings of public figures and attacks against government buildings.

Media would also turn a blind eye to military atrocities. When members of the army in 2002 began abducting and murdering civilians in an effort to boost their body counts, it went largely unreported for six years.

A peace deal signed with the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (or Farc) rebel group in late 2016 formally ended 52 years of bitter war that left 260,000 dead and more than 7 million displaced. But unrest continues, as other armed groups seek to muscle in on former Farc territory.


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