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Female journalist threatened after reporting on alleged misconduct of Tlaxcala state government

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - The following is an ARTICLE 19 press release:

Mexico: Threats against Journalists Exercising Right to Access Information, Imply a Double Risk for Free Expression

Fátima Monterrosa, an investigative journalist for the magazine Emeequis, has been subjected to threats after publishing an article entitled "A Viceroyalty Named Tlaxcala". The article exposed a series of anomalies in the administration of the state government of Tlaxcala.

The work of Fátima Monterrosa is well known in the journalistic community in Mexico. She has worked as a press correspondent for a diverse range of national print and electronic media outlets. Over the years she has covered the situation of the indigenous communities in Chiapas and their uprising, as well as other topics related to poverty, but her specialty is corruption and access to information.

In the article "A Viceroyalty Named Tlaxcala", Monterrosa exposed a series of financial investments allegedly made Tlaxcala state's public funds.
During an interview with ARTICLE 19, Monterrosa said that in March she was first subjected to intimidation, such as the suspicious presence of cars without license plates or visible identification in the vicinity of the magazine's office. On 10 July, the digital magazine E-Consulta published an article entitled Emeequis magazine is going to publish a new report with further information"; days later, the following message appeared in the commentary section of E-Consulta: "we're going to kill you Fatima you're not going to know where we're going to do it. That's for getting involved with the wrong people" (sic).

ARTICLE 19 and the Collective for Transparency believe threats against journalists entrench a climate of self-censorship and promote a shortage of information of public interest in Mexico. It is important to note that the majority of the physical attacks against journalists are preceded by intimidating actions of this sort.

Journalists who exercise their right to access public information fulfil an essential social function in a democratic system, by exposing information of public interest so citizens can make free, informed and autonomous decisions.

"The censorship of a woman journalist is of deep concern; not only does it affect the public's right to be informed, but also the possibility of enriching public debate with the perspective that comes from the equitable participation of women in the free flow of information and opinions," said Dr. Agnès Callamard, Executive Director of ARTICLE 19.

ARTICLE 19 and the Collective for Transparency condemn these acts and express their solidarity with Fátima Monterrosa. At the same time, they call on the Mexican state to ensure that an effective investigation will be carried out in order to that those responsible are held to account by the appropriate authorities.

ARTICLE 19 is an independent human rights organisation that works globally to protect and promote the right to freedom of expression. It takes its name from Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees free speech.

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