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Journalist accuses Chiapas state officials of interfering with his work, blacklisting him

(CEPET/IFEX) - The following is a 25 September 2007 statement from CEPET, an interim member of IFEX:

Mexico, 25 September 2007 - In an open letter, Francisco Andrade Madrigal, general manager of the "Informativo Chiapas" news site, has complained of harassment and interference with his work by officials of the Chiapas state media coordination office (Coordinación de Comunicación Social, Cocoso).

"I face restrictions and am being watched when I do my work," the journalist told CEPET, adding that he has been harassed by the governor of Chiapas, Juan Sabines Guerrero.

Andrade names the head of Cocoso, Jaime Culebro, information director Jacobo Elnecavé, and the director of advertising for electronic media, Jean Paul Marmolejo Campos, in his letter, and says he will hold them responsible if anything happens to him or to his family.

In the letter, directed to Mexican President Felipe Calderón and to the Chiapas state governor, Andrade says Cocoso employees have interfered with his work because of a perceived bias by the journalist in favour of candidate José Antonio Aguilar Bodegas and against governor Sabines in the August 2006 state elections.

Andrade accuses the print media of "dimwittedness and mistrust". He has reportedly been vetoed by five online media outlets and told by some that they have received "word from above" instructing them not to give him any work.

The journalist laments in his letter that independent Chiapas media outlets are required to "obtain permission from the government in order to hire any given individual."

Andrade has also seen attempts to sabotage and alter the content of his site ( http://www.informativochiapas.net ), forcing him to change his website address.

"I was going to keep silent like most others, but I am now faced with a loss of income and the risk of having my Internet page hacked once again. I therefore decided to go public with this complaint and will hold responsible the members of Sabines's government for anything that happens to my site, me or my family," the journalist writes in his letter.

"The governor and the Chiapas state officials may not agree with me but all I ask is that they allow me to do my work," Andrade adds.

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