Jineth Bedoya Lima
Status: Under Threat
Jineth Bedoya Lima is a Colombian journalist who reports on law enforcement, paramilitary groups, and abductions within Colombia. Bedoya Lima was abducted twice while reporting—once on May 25, 2000, while working for El Espectador, when she was kidnapped and raped during a set up for an interview with a paramilitary group leader; and again in August 2003 while working for El Tiempo. Today she continues to work as a journalist for El Tiempo with the protection of government-assigned bodyguards and a bulletproof car and campaigns to bring awareness to the issue of sexual violence.
During a ceremony at the Women of the World Festival in London March 2017, Bedoya received RAW in WAR’s Anna Politkovskaya Award.
On May 25, 2000, then-26-year-old Jineth Bedoya Lima was on her way to La Modelo Prison in Bogota to report on the murders of prisoners at the hands of inmates belonging to paramilitary groups. Outside the prison, she was abducted, drugged, and forced into a car by three men. She was repeatedly raped and tortured as they drove her far away. They then left her by a garbage dump, where a taxi driver discovered her hours later. During the sexual abuse, Bedoya Lima said the attackers grabbed her hair and asked her to “pay attention,” because they were “sending a message to the Colombian press.” Bedoya Lima had been publishing the names of paramilitary group leaders as well as reporting on arms trafficking and violence in Colombian prisons.
In early August 2003, Bedoya Lima traveled to the town of Puerto Alvira to report on its seizure by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), who had coerced its 1,100 citizens to produce cocaine full-time. Upon her arrival, she was immediately kidnapped along with her photographer; both were stripped of their clothing and all their belongings were confiscated. However, she was soon freed, and published a story on life in FARC-controlled territory.
For her accomplishments and bravery, Bedoya Lima was awarded the CJFE International Press Freedom Award in 2000, the Courage in Journalism Award of the International Women’s Media Foundation in 2001, and the International Women of Courage Award in 2012.