Stop crimes against freedom of expression | Freedom House

Stop crimes against freedom of expression

Mexico City, MX. The lifeless body of journalist Víctor Manuel Báez Chino, was found with signs of torture on the morning of Thursday June 14 on Ursulo Galvan Street located in the center of the city of Xalapa, Veracruz. The journalist had about 30 years of experience covering the police beat in the state and was a member of the editorial board of the website www.reporterospoliciacos.mx

According to official reports that the state government provided at a press conference, and various other sources, the journalist, who also worked for Milenio El Portal de Veracruz, belonging to the group Milenio, was kidnapped by an armed group of three people who forced him up into a gray truck around 23:30 pm on June 13.

While the authorities indicated that operation Veracruz Seguro (Safe Veracruz) was implemented and that all means out of the city were closed, they only managed to locate the journalist's body at 5:00 a.m. Thursday morning, and only 20 blocks from downtown. The Attorney General of the State reported that he opened police investigation 715/2012, and the state government spokeswoman said the government would make all necessary investigations.

Under the current state administration, a total of nine journalists have already been killed. Additionally, there was a bombing at a media outlet and several serious assaults and raids, threats and unfair dismissals. As a result of threats and intimidation, more than half a dozen journalists have had to leave the state –one of whom applied for asylum in the U.S. –in the absence of guarantees for the safeguard of their lives and the exercise of freedom of expression.

In the cases described, even though there were corroborated threats prior to the various crimes, lack of timely and effective action by the competent authorities prevented the ability to save those lives.

At the same time, investigations of the cases have not produced any conclusive results, which have led to the repetition of criminal acts, and as has been shown, the helplessness of victims.

The situation of the press in the state is critical and it is expected that the attacks will not end while the Veracruz government continues without an effective response to urgent the appeals that various national and international organizations’, the journalists' union and society in general have reiterated regarding its obligation, sparing no efforts, to protect and ensure the physical integrity of journalists.

In early June, the state government announced the dispatch of a proposed bill to the state legislature for the formation of a Commission for the Care and Protection of Journalists in Veracruz. Regardless of the fate of this initiative, we believe that the state government has an inescapable obligation to provide security guarantees to all its inhabitants including, naturally, the journalists' union, and it cannot wait for the Commission to be fully operational to fulfill this obligation.

As stated in the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), "murder, kidnapping, intimidation, threats to social communicators, as well as the material destruction of communications media violate the fundamental rights of individuals and strongly restrict freedom of expression. It is the duty of the state to prevent and investigate such occurrences, to punish their perpetrators and to ensure that victims receive due compensation. "

In the framework of the constitutional obligations of the Mexican state, we ask the competent authorities:

Of the government of the state of Veracruz:

  • Provide effective security guarantees for life, liberty, physical and moral integrity, and the exercise of freedom of expression for journalists and the media.
  • When faced with threats to life and freedom of expression, the state government will act accordingly and with due diligence, protecting journalists and the media, and will keep its acts public.
  • That the state government of Veracruz and the Attorney General's Office investigate cases of homicide, disappearances, threats and attacks of any kind against journalists and the media, to urgently identify those responsible and bring them to justice .
  • It is essential that the government conduct transparent investigations into the crimes against journalists in the state, for which it must provide, immediately, an explanation of the progress of the investigations, and issue updates within a time period of no later than three months .

Of the Federal government:

  • An urgent, immediate and extraordinary action in Veracruz to implement measures to protect journalists that involves the Ministry of the Interior, the Attorney General's Office and the Federal Police.
  • Immediate institutional support to the FEADLE to investigate crimes around the country, and that FEADLE report back on the progress of their research regularly.

Signatures:

International: Associacao Brasileira de Jornalismo Investigativo (Abraji, Brasil), Artículo 19 (Oficina México y Centroamérica), Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM, Trinidad y Tobago), Asociación por los Derechos Civiles (ADC, Argentina), Asociación Mundial de Periódicos y Editores de Medios de Información (WAN-IFRA), Asociación Nacional de la Prensa de Bolivia, Asociación Nacional de Periodistas del Perú (ANP), Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas, AC., Centro de Periodismo e Investigación (CIPER, Chile), Centro Knight para el Periodismo en las Américas (Rosental Calmon Alves), Comité para la Protección de los Periodistas (CPJ, Nueva York), Comité por la Libre Expresión (C-Libre, Honduras), Consejo Ciudadano del Premio Nacional de Periodismo A.C, Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma (DART, EE.UU), Federación de Periodistas de América Latina y el Caribe (FEPALC), Federación Internacional de Periodistas (FIP), Freedom House (Oficina México), Foro de Periodismo Argentino (FOPEA), Foro de Periodistas Paraguayos, Fundación Andina para la Observación y Estudio de los Medios (Fundamedios, Ecuador), Fundación Nuevo Periodismo Iberoamericano (FNPI, Colombia), Fundación para la Libertad de Prensa (FLIP, Colombia), International Center for Journalists (ICFJ, EE.UU),  IFEX-ALC (Canadá), International Media Support (IMS, Dinamarca), Instituto Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS, Venezuela), Observatorio Latinoamericano para la Libertad de Expresión (OLA), Trust for the Americas (Washington),Reporteros sin Fronteras, Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa (SIP).

México: Asociación de Periodistas y Comunicadores de Durango AC, Asociación de Periodistas y Comunicadores 7 de junio (Sinaloa), Asociación Mexicana para el Derechos a la Información (AMEDI), Asociación Mundial de Radios Comunitarias (AMARC), Casa de los Derechos de Periodistas, Centro Nacional de Comunicación Social (CENCOS), Centro de Periodismo y Ética Pública (CEPET), Club de Periodistas de México, Colegio de Comunicadores y Periodistas de Chiapas (CCOPECH), Colegio de Periodistas y Comunicadores de San Luis Potosí,  Foro de Periodistas Chiapanecos A.C., Frente Nacional por la Libertad de Expresión (Sindicato Independiente de Trabajadores de la Jornada, Sindicato Nacional de Redactores de la Prensa, Delegación Sindical de Radio Educación, Sindicato Único de Trabajadores de Notimex, Abogados de la ANAD), Fundación para la Libertad de Expresión (Fundalex), Iniciativa Sinaloa, Periodistas de a Pie, Red de Periodistas de Juárez, Red Mexicana de Reporteros Tierra y Libertad.

Journalists and Media Outlets: Agencia Ika Balam, Agencia Nacional de Prensa Indígena (AIPIN),  Ignacio Alvarado, Gerardo Albarrán de Alba (Ombusman, MVS Radio), María del Carmen Ballena Rázuri (Dtora Ultimas Noticias, Perú), Borderzine (El Paso, Texas), Lolita Bosch (España), Ma. Enriqueta Burelo Melgar (El Heraldo de Chiapas), Lidia Cacho (El Universal), Luis Cárdenas (MVS Radio), Rafael Cardona, José Carreño Carlón, Carlos Fernando Chamorro (Dtor. Confidencial y Esta Semana, Nicaragua), Alejandro Colón (La Prensa), Alfredo Corchado (The Dallas Morning News), Francisco Cuamea (Noroeste), Katia D´Artigues (El Universal), Melissa del Bosque (Texas Observer),  Álvaro Delgado (Proceso), Diario Noroeste (Sinaloa), Carlos Ferreyra Carrasco (LatinPress), Guillermo García E. (La Jornada), Francisco Garfias (Excélsior), Javier Garza (Dtor. El Siglo de Torreón),  María Idalia Gómez (24Horas), Mónica González (Dtora. Ciper, Chile), Gustavo Gorriti (Dtor. IDL Reporteros, Perú), Eduardo Ibarra Aguirre (Forum en Línea), Sergio Haro (Semanario Zeta), Antonio Heras (La Jornada), Julio Hernández López (La Jornada), Ignacio Lozano (W Radio), Pablo Ángel Lugo, Jorge Meléndez Preciado (El Financiero), Fernando Meraz (Milenio), Angélica Mercado (Milenio), Patricia Mercado (Dtora. Gral. Grupo Editorial Zacatecas), Ginna Morelo ( Editora El Meridiano, Colombia), Georgina Moret (24Horas), Estela Livera (conductora TV), Gotson Pierre (Editor Agencia AlterPress, Haití), Reyna Luna (Texas),Leticia Pineda (AP), Fabio Posadas (Editor El País, Colombia), Revista Contralínea, Martín Rodríguez Pellecer (Dtor. Plaza Pública, Guatemala), Ana Lilia Pérez, Sandra Rodríguez (Diario de Juárez), Ignacio Rodríguez Reyna (Dtor.Emequis), Javier Sicilia (Proceso), Andrés Arturo Solís, Gabriel Sosa Plata (IMER), María Verza (Onda Cero Radio, España), José Rubén Zamora (Dtor. El Periódico, Guatemala), Jorge Zepeda Patterson (Dtor. sinembargo.mx)

More signatures:

Chiapas: Grupo de Mujeres de San Cristóbal de las Casas, Jesús Ernesto Molina Ramos, Pedro Raúl López Hernández y José Rafael Navas Pérez, Consejeros del Consejo Estatal de Derechos Humanos (CEDH); Diego Cadenas Gordillo, Secretario Ejecutivo del CEDHC;  Edgar Lara Morales y Arturo Barrientos, del CEDH. Periodistas y Comunicadores: Mary Carmen Camacho, Víctor Hugo López, Antonio Guillén Albores, Gaspar Morquecho, Vinicio Portela, Erick Acuña Meneses, Gabriela Coutiño Montes, Lizeth Coello, Elio Henriquez Tobar, Amalia Avendaño Villafuerte, Isaín Madujano Camacho, Ángeles Mariscal Pioquinto, Francisco Gurguha, René de Jesús González, Moyses Zuñiga Santiago, Itzel Grajales
Antony Flores, Mara Eugenia Díaz, Sandra de los Santos, Mario Tassías Aquino, Mala Fama, Danae Estrada, Valeria Martínez, Martín Méndez Hernández, Arely Noriega, Arturo Valdez Santos,  Valentín Gómez Farias,  Tania Selvas Ruiz, Hugo Sánchez, Samuel Bernardo Revueltas Ortega,  Richie Pro,  Vianer Montejo Rodríguez,  Claudia Lobatón,  Víctor Hugo López, Lourdes Chávez, Raúl Vera López, Juan Álvarez Moreno, Martin Méndez Hernández, Marco Alvarado, Tania Broissin,  Alicia Izquierdo,  David Morales,  Augusto Solórzano López, Yuing Angel, Raúl Ríos Trujillo, Gaspar Romero Pérez, CesarTrujillo, Shaggy Escobar González, Rodolfo González Flores, Carlos Coutiño, Martin Camacho, Ramiro Gómez, Alfredo Ovilla, Jeanett Solís Ramírez, Juan Carlos Herrera.

Distrito Federal: Gabriel Franco, Jaime Eduardo García Cruz, Luis Gutiérrez Esparza (Excélsior), Alejandro Meléndez Ortíz. 

Morelos: Estrella Pedroza, Tlaulli Preciado Bahena, Fabiola García Villafaña, Oswald Alonso, David Monrroy ,Luis Flores, Jaqueline  López,  Julieta Salazar. Circulo  de Lectura de Mujeres Periodistas de Morelos.

Quintana Roo. Graciela Machuca (Dtora. Maya sin Fronteras), María Luis Vázquez (Por Esto).

Tamaulipas: Diana Brigite Alvarado Gutiérrez (Diario Altamira en Red), Lidia Rita Bonilla Delgado (Debate Portal), Maria del Socorro Hurtado Alvarez (Periódico TLC), Miguel Arturo García Rodríguez (Periódico La Red), Unión de Periodistas Democráticos de Altamira.

June 18, 2012