International News Safety Institute

16 October 2022  |  CPJ

Rafael Emiro Moreno Garavito


Journalist and community leader fatally shot

Cause of death



On October 16, 2022, in the northern town of Montelíbano, two men aboard a motorcycle fatally shot Rafael Emiro Moreno Garavito while he was at the fast-food restaurant that he owned.

Moreno was the director of independent online news outlet Voces De Córdoba, which published local news reports on Facebook, and a well-known community leader who received years of threats for his reporting on political corruption and drug-trafficking groups, Bogotá-based Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP) Executive Director Jonathan Bock told CPJ. The Colombian newsmagazine Cambio said Moreno recently investigated illegal gold mining by a powerful drug-trafficking group known as the Gulf Clan.

The Colombian government’s National Protection Unit (UNP) had assigned a bodyguard to protect Moreno and gave him a protective vest and an early-warning panic button, Jhon Murillo, a UNP spokesman, told CPJ via WhatsApp. However, at about noon on the day he was killed, Moreno, who didn’t believe protection was necessary while working at his restaurant, told his bodyguard that he could take the rest of the day off, which he did, Murillo said.

After Moreno’s death, a FLIP investigation found that the journalist was only intermittently protected over years of threats and that the UNP failed to reevaluate his protection scheme in a timely manner following new threats.

FLIP’s Bock said that it was the first time that a Colombian journalist under government protection had been killed.

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