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ARTICLE 19-Mexico, IPYS-Mexico and CENCOS demand adequate protection for journalists

(CENCOS/IFEX) ? The following is a joint press release of ARTICLE 19-Mexico, CENCOS and IPYS-Mexico:

ARTICLE 19-Mexico, IPYS-Mexico and CENCOS concerned about lack of safety for journalists

Mexico, 11 October 2007 - Journalists of the Oaxacan newspaper "El Imparcial del Istmo" have resigned out of fear for their lives following the killing of three of the newspaper's employees and repeated threats.

Editor Gonzalo Domínguez and crime reporter Felipe Ramos have also resigned out of fear for their lives and for the lives of their families. They have received death threats in reprisal for their reporting on the finding of a grave containing seven corpses in the Istmo de Tehuantepec region.

Domínguez believes that he and Ramos were the intended targets of the attack on one of the newspaper's vehicles on 8 October 2007, which resulted in the death of employees Mateo Cortés Martínez, Agustín López and Flor Vásquez López.

The fear and insecurity that led to the mass resignation of the newspaper's staff is one more outcome of the government's inability to gurantee the safety of journalists, as violence against media escalates in various parts of the country.

The newspaper's editor-in-chief, Luis David Quintana, has announced that management has decided to continue publishing the newspaper, though in reduced form.

The manager of the newspaper, Benjamín Fernández Pichardo, confirmed that a complaint has been filed with local authorities.

The expression of ideas should face no restrictions; nonetheless, as violence increasingly serves to censor media, the fundamental right to freedom of expression is endangered. The government bears much responsibility for failing to protect, promote and monitor this right.

According to the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights and other international rights instruments, states are obliged to effectively investigate the killing of journalists, and to punish the perpetrators.

CENCOS, ARTICLE 19-Mexico, and IPYS-Mexico express their profound concern, in light of these recent incidents highlighting the lack of safety for journalists in Mexico. The three organisations also demand that the national government take the necessary measures to ensure that journalists may work without fear of being attacked or killed by those powerful actors who are holding hostage the right of Mexicans to freedom of expression.

ARTICLE 19-Mexico

Centro Nacional de Comunicación Social

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