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Shots fired at community radio journalists' homes

(ARTICLE 19/CENCOS/IFEX) - The following is an excerpt of a 28 July 2008 joint press release by AMARC, CENCOS, ARTICLE 19 and RSF:

Shots fired at community radio journalists' homes
Organisations call on Oaxaca government to provide protection for members of Radio Zaachila, and punish the assailants

Mexico City, 28 July 2008 - We, the undersigned organisations, condemn the recent attack against Melesio Melchor Ángeles and Jorge Aragón Martínez, contributors to the Radio Zaachila community radio station, based in Zaachila, Oaxaca. At approximately 2:30 a.m. on 27 July 2008, unknown individuals fired shots at the journalists' homes. Some 9 millimetre cartridges, which are solely used by the army, were found in front of the houses.

The two journalists, who also belong to a Zaachila teachers' group (Frente Educativo Zaachilence), are facing criminal actions filed against them by members of the municipality who accuse them of having organised a demonstration that prevented the visit of Oaxaca Governor Ulises Ruiz to the community on 20 June. Municipal leader Noé Pérez Martínez has asked the Communications and Transport Secretariat (Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes) to shut down the community radio station. On 23 June, "A diario" local newspaper quoted Pérez Martínez as saying that the station is "sickening the minds of the local people".

The attack is a violation of judicial guarantees on freedom of expression as stipulated by Article 6 of the Constitution and elements of international treaties ratified by Mexico, such as Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights, and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The undersigned organisations urge the Oaxaca authorities to provide protection for the members of Radio Zaachila, and identify and punish those responsible for the attack.

Signed,
ARTICLE 19, Mexico
World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters, AMARC-Mexico
Mexican Association for the Right to Information
National Center for Social Communication, CENCOS
Reporters Without Borders (RSF)

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