Nearshore Americas

Journalists Resign En Masse at Colombia’s Semana, as Wealthy Families Take Control of News in the Country

Semana, an influential news magazine in Colombia, is struggling to stay afloat, as the periodical’s top journalists leave in desperation following the appointment of a new director accused of belonging to a crime family.

It all began after a banking mogul, Jaime Gilinski, took control of the magazine and began reshuffling its top management team in the name of turning it into “Colombia’s Fox News”.

He fired some popular writers and columnists in the magazine. Earlier in November, he named Vicky Davila as director of the magazine.

The appointment angered the editorial team, causing journalists to leave one after another. From the chief editor to an award-winning investigative reporter and a cartoonist, most of the leading figures on the editorial team have now resigned.

Reports say journalists at the magazine are convinced that their news outlet is closer to the government and that they can no longer write investigative reports.

The media industry in Colombia is losing trust among its audience, with major publications being taken over by wealthy families who traditionally bankroll presidential elections.

“The media landscape of Colombia is fundamentally in the hands of large economic family groups that have interests in public tenders, infrastructure, banking, the media, as you know,” reports LatAm Journalism Review, quoting Germán Rey, professor, and researcher at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana and instructor at the Gabo Foundation, as saying.

Last month, Colombia Reports published an article titled “The five families who own the news in Colombia”. Considering the report, journalists in the country are no longer feeling free and independent, and are leaving the profession for good.

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As many as 16 journalists have resigned from Semana, which was re-founded in 1982 by Felipe Lopez, who recently sold a controlling stake in the magazine to the banking mogul.

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.

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