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Between violence and indifference - Report on attacks against freedom of expression in Mexico in 2009

(ARTICLE 19/CENCOS/IFEX) - 10 February, 2010, Mexico D.F. - The Mexican government should comply with its responsibilities and do more to protect journalists and media workers who are under threat of widespread abuse, ARTICLE 19 and CENCOS say in their new report.

In 2009, 244 cases of attacks and intimidation against journalists and media workers were registered in Mexico. Of those cases 11 journalists were assassinated and one more has disappeared.

Mexico is the most dangerous country in Latin America for journalists to practice their profession.

While it may be perceived that organized crime is responsible for the abuses, ARTICLE 19 and CENCOS show in their 2009 annual report that public officials or those with links to political parties can be cited as the main perpetrators in more than 65 per cent of the attacks, compared to six per cent for criminal gangs. The Mexican army is cited in 26 abuses.

Brisa Maya Solis, the director of CENCOS, said: "Attacks on freedom of expression are different in each state of the republic and different people are responsible. Organized crime is one of them but public officials represent the majority."

ARTICLE 19 and CENCOS state that governments at all levels and security services are also failing to ensure the safety of media workers, leading to a culture of impunity concerning attacks carried out to silence dissenting voices or unwanted reporting.

Attacks are not solely limited to the restive northern regions, attacks on journalists continue to occur in Mexico's central and southern regions. The states with the greatest incidence of intimidation against media workers in 2009 were Oaxaca and Veracruz, in the south.

The report analyses the state's lack of political will to address the issue, the Special Prosecutor's complete failure to prosecute such crimes and the parliament's inefficacy in legislating to monitor abuses and provide safeguards to journalists.

Human rights should be institutionalized at the state level in Mexico to protect the lives and physical integrity of journalists, as advocated by ARTICLE 19 and CENCOS.

As attacks by criminal groups continue, the report highlights the culpability of those in political power and the grave levels of corruption. The 2009 report calls for a strengthening of prosecution, the legal framework and public policy to uphold security for media workers.

Click below to download the report (in Spanish only)
Informe_2009_Entre_la_Violencia_y_la_Indiferencia_ARTICLE19_Cencos.pdf (1645 KB)

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