‘You can kill me, but you won’t silence me.’

Laurent Richard

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‘You can kill me, but you won’t silence me.’

RAFAEL PROJECT. Colombian journalist Rafael Moreno was able to reach out to Forbidden Stories and share his investigations of widespread corruption in Córdoba.


'The Rafael Project' is a collaborative investigation coordinated by Forbidden Stories that involves 30 journalists and that is published by 32 media organizations
AS PUBLISHED BYForbidden Stories

In the days leading up to his killing, Rafael Moreno was in contact with Forbidden Stories. The threats the Colombian journalist was receiving were becoming more and more disquieting.

This is why Moreno had decided to share the information he was working on with us: so that in case anything happened to him, we could pursue his work. 

At 7:10 pm on October 16, 2022, Moreno was shot dead in the city of Montelíbano, in the north of Colombia – a dangerous region dominated by the Gulf Clan, a powerful organized crime group. 

Immediately after his death, we went to Bogotá. We met with dozens of Colombian, Latin American, and international journalists. And on October 23, 30 journalists decided to unite forces to pursue Moreno’s unfinished work. 

Six months later, coordinated by Forbidden Stories, journalists from El Centro Latinoamericano de Investigación Periodística (CLIP), Cuestión Pública, El Espectador, France 24, RFI, and other partners are releasing the “Rafael Project.”

Today, this collaborative and international investigation is revealing significant information pertaining to the environmental and health damage by mining companies in Córdoba, the region of Colombia Moreno was from, and unmasking, for the first time at scale, a massive system of cronyism and the probable embezzlement of public funds that Moreno had begun to look into.

Like Moreno, dozens of journalists around the world are currently protecting their sensitive information and investigations through the SafeBox Network. This new network is quickly growing.

Some of these journalists – like Alfredo Guachiré in Paraguay, Paola Ugaz in Peru, and Haruna Mohammed Salisu in Nigeria – have made the choice to make it publicly known that they’ve joined this network. They are doing this for their own security, so that people who might wish to silence them know their stories will be revealed, one way or another, on a global scale. 

Days before World Press Freedom Day, it is important to remember that journalism, and the right for every citizen to be informed, are critical to global democracy.

Pursuing the work of assassinated journalists is not just a fraternal responsibility, but also a democratic one, ensuring that public interest information – whether about environmental crimes, corruption, or human rights violations – is not snuffed out. This is especially true at a time when journalists are under greater and greater threat.

To Moreno’s killers: you were wrong. Today, 32 media outlets around the world are publishing Moreno’s investigations. Killing the journalist won’t kill the story. –

Laurent Richard is a journalist and current director of the Forbidden Stories consortium.

Forbidden Stories is an international consortium of investigative journalists that pursue the work of assassinated journalists or journalists under threat.

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