Mexico: ARTICLE 19 Releases Third Quarterly Report Documenting Aggressions Against Journalists
ARTICLE 19, in conjunction with its partner Cencos, has launched a report pointing to a continuing deterioration of freedom of expression in Mexico and stating that the authorities remain the principal perpetrators of aggressions against journalists.This is the third quarterly report detailing a total of 59 attacks against journalists and the media, including the killing of three journalists, from July to September 2009. ARTICLE 19 and Cencos have recorded 201 aggressions so far this year, as well as eight deaths.
In Mexico, journalists work in an evironment where organised crime and drug traffickers operate largely with impunity, often colluding with the authorities. Usually the most serious violations, such as assassinations and forced disappearances, can be attributed to organised crime.
However, ARTICLE 19’s figures continue to point to state authorities as the principal aggressors in nearly 72 per cent of cases. The deployment of the military and police in many parts of the country have not only resulted in an escalation of violence but, in some cases, new human rights violations committed by security forces. The ARTICLE 19 report also details several serious incidents involving government officials, including the harassment of staff at the political magazine Proceso by officials of the Ministry for Public Security.
The report further emphasises an increased number of aggressions commited by supporters of political parties, during recent elections at state level and in Congress. Local police forces and municipal officials are also responsible for attacks against media workers in various states, including Sinaloa, Veracruz, Oaxaca, Coahuila, Chihuahua, Guerrero and Mexico City.
Dario Ramirez, ARTICLE 19 Director for Mexico comments: “An assassination constitutes the most severe form of aggression and is an indicator of the adverse environment in which journalists and media workers are currently being forced to operate. Many of these cases have not been effectively investigated or resolved, and this constitutes a real and sustained campaign against the right to freedom of expression in this country.”
ARTICLE 19 and Cencos calls on the authorities to make a serious effort to tackle these violations of fundamental human rights and bring Mexico into line with international standards. This includes developing prevention policies, including adequate and effective human rights training for security forces, at all levels of national, state and local government.
ARTICLE 19 and Cencos reminds the Mexican State that the right to freedom of expression, which is established in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights implies a double obligation. The state is not only obliged not to violate the right, but also to protect it and promote an environment in which free expression is allowed to flourish.
ARTICLE 19 and Cencos reiterates its call on the Mexican State to tackle the impunity that is being allowed to prevail in the majority of cases of violations of the right to freedom of expression. This can only be achieved through the effective investigation of such crimes and the sanctioning of those responsible, as well as the strengthening of the bodies that are responsible for dealing with crimes against freedom of expression.
• To view the full report Attacks on Freedom of Expression in Mexico: Third Quarterly Bulletin go to: http://www.article19.org/pdfs/publications/mexico-attacks-on-freedom-of-expression-3rd-quarterly-report-.pdf
• For more information please contact: Ricardo Gonzalez, Programme Officer Freedom of Expression and Journalist´s Protection, Ricardo@article19.org +52 55 10546500
• For more information please contact: Iñigo Prieto Beguiristáin, Education and Research Unit, CENCOS, firstname.lastname@example.org, +52 (55) 55 33 64 75; +52 (55) 55 33 64 75 / 76 Ext. 108
• The Social Communications National Centre (Cencos) was the first organisation documenting attacks against the media in Mexico. Its work focused in promoting freedom of expression and press freedom as an individual right of all journalists and as a collective right of society to be informed.