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Journalists and allies in Culiacán protest impunity in colleague's murder, government inaction on violence in Sinaloa state

(CEPET/IFEX) - Journalists and social leaders recently demonstrated in Culiacán, Sinaloa state, northeastern Mexico, protesting against lack of safety in the area and demanding that the authorities do something about the situation. The demonstration was organised by the "7th of June" Journalists' Association (Asociación de Periodistas y Comunicadores "7 de Junio") and it also served to remind the federal and state authorities that the murder of journalist Oscar Rivera Inzunza remains unsolved. Rivera Inzunza was shot by unidentified individuals with high calibre weapons in Culiacán in September 2007. Although he was the Sinaloa state government's spokesperson on security issues at the time of his murder, Rivera Inzunza was also well known locally for his work as a journalist and was respected by his media colleagues because in his government position he facilitated their work and provided them with valuable information for their stories.

In spite of the fact that operations to combat drug trafficking have been intensified, 742 people were assassinated in Sinaloa in 2007, the Journalists' Association president Verona Hernández said, adding that the objective of the demonstration was to protest against the government about its lack of results. "The police should protect us rather than us having to protect ourselves from them," Hernández said, according to information published in "Noreste" newspaper (for further information on acts of violence against journalists in Sinaloa state, see IFEX alerts of 20 February 2008, 11 September, 20 and 9 July 2007, and others). Hernández indicated that in a recent visit to Sinaloa, national Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora "came to string along those who are seeking justice in the case of security spokesperson and journalist Oscar Rivera Inzunza."

Journalists, lawyers, human rights defenders, local members of congress and Culiacán city councillors participated in the demonstration. They also called on the government to work against the corruption that they said prevails in the courts.

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