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Guanajuato state governor orders two newspapers to be subjected to advertising boycott

(CEPET/IFEX) - The following is an 11 July 2007 statement from CEPET, an interim member of IFEX:

Governor orders advertising boycott of newspaper

On 8 and 9 July 2007, the newspaper "a.m.", based in Guanajuato, a state in central Mexico, complained in a message to its readers that it is the victim of an advertising boycott ordered by the state's governor, Juan Manuel Oliva Ramírez, a member of the National Action Party (Partido Acción Nacional, PAN), the same party to which President Felipe Calderón belongs.

"Guanajuato Governor Juan Manuel Oliva Ramírez ordered the suspension of publication of any notices from the state government in the pages of 'a.m.' and 'Al Día'," read the message to readers, signed by the publisher, Compañía Periodística Meridiano, S.A. de C.V. "Al Día" is another newspaper published by the same media group.

"Never, since 'a.m.' was founded 29 years ago, has any government used public funds to pressure or punish the free expression of our ideas. Not even in the worst periods of the PRI's authoritarianism was there an attempt to pressure 'a.m.' in such a fashion," added the message. The Institutional Revolutionary Party (El Partido Revolucionario Institutional, PRI) governed Mexico for 70 years.

In the same press release, the newspaper's director indicated that the quality of the newspaper would not suffer, and that he only regretted that the public would be denied useful information.

Principle 13 of the Inter-American Declaration Of Principles On Freedom Of Expression forbids the use of public funds to punish media who are not close to the governments of the day. It states: "The exercise of power and the use of public funds by the state, the granting of customs duty privileges, the arbitrary and discriminatory placement of official advertising and government loans; the concession of radio and television broadcast frequencies, among others, with the intent to put pressure on and punish or reward and provide privileges to social communicators and communications media because of the opinions they express threaten freedom of expression, and must be explicitly prohibited by law."

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