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Newspaper director accuses congressman of harassment over critical article in Hidalgo

(CEPET/IFEX) - Edmundo Pineda, director of the Pachuca, Hidalgo-based local newspaper "El Reloj", has accused federal congressman Daniel Ludlow Kuri of harassment following the 11 February 2008 appearance of graffiti and posters on the walls of his newspaper's office building.

Pineda says that the congressman entered the newspaper's offices aggressively on 8 February to complain about a news item and demand his right to reply. The article in question had reported the statement by (another federal congressman, Isidro Pedraza Chávez, who claimed Ludlow was responsible for the violent eviction of peasants from the community of Alfajayucan, in the central state of Hidalgo.

Pineda further said that, in response to the congressman's arrogant demands, his staff requested Ludlow Kuri return the following day, since Pineda was out on assignment at the time. Ludlow Kuri was apparently quite bothered by this response.

On the morning of 11 February, graffiti and posters appeared on the walls of the newspaper's offices. The graffiti read "corrupt press", while the posters contained the congressman's reply to the article that had offended him. In that reply, Ludlow Kuri indicated he was taking legal action against the newspaper.

"We do not understand why the congressman has responded in this manner. He even surreptitiously filmed the interior of the newspaper's offices. And we had published his letter of reply to the article the day after", said Pineda.

Ludlow Kuri denies having acted aggressively and says he only asked for the right to respond. To substantiate his claims, Ludlow Kuri presented a video tape that he claims shows how, in the newspaper office, he simply asked to talk to Pineda and was not disrespectful in any way. Ludlow Kuri also accuses Pineda of having put up the posters and graffiti himself.

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