Luis Villa, known as Westcol on social networks, is one of the most famous streamers in Colombia.
The Freedom of the Press Foundation, FLIP, reported that three journalists have been subjected to death threats and online harassment by the influential Luis Villa, known as “Westcol”, and his followers. The influencer has 1.4 million followers on his Twitch account.
Since then, as published by FLIP, she has received more than 400 abusive messages and death threats.
The second case documented by FLIP concerns Luz Lancheros of Publimetro, who faced similar threats after showing her support on social networks and criticizing Westcoal’s attitude. Lancheros has received more than 50 abusive messages, some accompanied by gruesome photomontages.
The third case is that of Juan Manuel Caprera, a journalist for the Última Hora Colombia portal, who was threatened in a live broadcast by Westcoal after they learned that a note had been published on the portal calling them “abused animals”. There is an image of a henchman tied with a rope around his neck on his social networks. According to Villa, he uploaded the image which has been circulating on the internet for some time, but he was not the one who placed the noose on the animal.
Westcoal called Caprera and put the conversation on speakerphone. “Were you the one who created the title ‘Westcall, Animal Abuser’… No, no, no, no! Be very careful what you do, my brother. Be very careful, tell me clearly that you Why Did you do this?”
Did you see me killing the henchman?… Why did you copy it?… No, dad, no one was talking about it, you talked about it and you blamed me, this time, Accused of being an animal abuser, clearly. Do you understand how serious this is?! Look, I’m going to give you time to remove that title, so you can remove it. My brother, things are not like this with me. Do you know where I come from, father?… If you don’t remove that headline you will know.” After hanging up the influential man said, “This is how the problems of the country’s newspapers are solved. “
“The threats were so serious that the journalist had to close all his social networks and change his phone number,” FLIP said.
In the statement, the entity reminded that “online violence against journalists not only affects their physical and emotional integrity, but also jeopardizes freedom of expression and the press. It is essential that authorities investigate these acts of cyberbullying.” and punish them.
Furthermore, they asked the Prosecutor’s Office to take immediate measures to protect journalists and guarantee a safe environment for the practice of journalism. “Online violence cannot be tolerated,” the statement said.