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María Elvira Bonilla Otoya

María Elvira Bonilla Otoya

She is the director of the information website Las 2 Orillas, digital media created by several recognized journalists and columnists of the country, with the purpose of becoming a space to represent the plurality of views at the events. Among its founders it can be highlighted: Adriana Mejía, Alonso Salazar Jaramillo, Jorge Enrique Botero, León Valencia, Margarita Londoño Vélez, Marta Ruiz, Natalia Orozco, Rafael Santos and Sergio Álvarez.

Bonilla is married to Juan Manuel Ospina Restrepo, who has performed an important political career (for more information see "Family and Friends"). She began her journalistic career in Semana. She was director of Revista Cromos, deputy director of Noticiero Nacional and of Noticias RCN, and participated in La Revista, a project of the newspaper El Espectador. For her work, Bonilla has won multiple journalism awards, among which are three Simón Bolívar Awards, one Alfonso Bonilla Aragón Award and one Rodrigo Lloreda Caicedo Award.

In 2010 Bonilla participated -as co-founder- of the creation of the digital media KienyKe, of which she was the director until 2012. Her departure of KienyKe was marked by the scandal triggered by the dismissal of the journalist Daniel Pardo of the media, after publishing an article in which he questioned the independence of some media for presenting advertorials bought by companies without explicitly announcing they were paid.

Daniel Pardo wrote for the digital media an article entitled “Pacific ES Colombia” in which he argues that the oil company Pacific Rubiales buys favorable reports in some of the country’s media –including the KienyKe website. After some letters sent to the media by people mentioned in the article, and the request by the management to the journalist of evidence to support what he wrote, Pardo is dismissed from the website. Nevertheless, the required evidence is subsequently published in La Silla Vacía. Bonilla request the re-entry of Pardo to the media, but in view of the refusal of the management, she and the deputy director submit their resignation..

According to KienyKe, the departure of Pardo corresponded to a problem of citation and management of sources, but the issue –which is not of little importance in the country- incited a media debate on the independence of the journalists and the media against the companies that they advertised.

In this regard, several colleagues of Pardo published opinion pieces. Four of them are highlighted below: “La pauta y el periodismo” of Ana María Cano, published in El Espectador; “Poderosas pautas publicitarias para paralizar periodistas” of Daniel Samper Pizano, published in El Tiempo; “Los pecados de Daniel” of María Jimena Duzán, published in the Revista Semana; and “La ventana indiscreta: cómo se despide a un columnista” of Carlos Cortes, published en La Silla Vacía.


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