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"Por Esto" newspaper owner receives death threats, blames federal and state government officials

(CENCOS/IFEX) - On 30 June 2007, Mario Renato Menéndez Rodríguez was harassed in Mérida and received death threats. He is the director and owner of "Por Esto" newspaper in Mérida, the capital of Yucatán state, in southeastern Mexico. He told CENCOS that the motive for the threats is his publication of various articles, since 1997, criticising federal and local governments for their alleged connections to the trafficking of both drugs and illegal workers.

Menéndez Rodríguez attributes the threats he has received to federal and Yucatán state government officials trying to stop him from carrying out his task of disseminating information. He says that he has been the target of many kinds of aggression, ranging from hostile comments to being deprived of his freedom on four occasions by members of the Attorney General's Office (Procuraduría General de la República (PGR), who later released him.

Menéndez Rodríguez added that his newspaper has also suffered the loss of government advertising contracts. He says that despite being the largest-run newspaper in Yucatán and Cancún, it was the only Mérida newspaper from which the government withdrew its advertising.

Menéndez Rodríguez asks for an end to the threats against him, his employees and "Por Esto" (for further information on other death threats against him, see IFEX alert of 11 July 2007; for the threats and attacks on his employees and the newspaper, see alerts of 5 September, 29 and 25 August and 29 June 2006).

CENCOS asks federal and state authorities to ensure Menéndez Rodríguez's safety and right to freedom of expression, as stipulated by the constitution and the international agreements Mexico has ratified.

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