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Journalist flees to the United States after receiving death threat

(CEPET/IFEX) - Jorge Luis Aguirre, director of the online newspaper "La Polaka," has left Mexico with his family and fled to the United States after receiving death threats in his home city of Ciudad Juárez, in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua.

The journalist, who was interviewed via telephone, talked about the threat he received and his current situation.

"This isn't the first time that I've received threats. I received emails and phone calls several times beforehand telling me to tone down my editorial stance, especially about information that has to do with the security situation. With this last threat, they didn't tell me why I was being threatened. I suspect it's from the authorities, not from organised crime, but you never know. In Ciudad Juárez, they are all linked," he said.

Aguirre said that on 13 November 2008, he received a call on his cell phone while he was on the way to reporter Armando Rodríguez Carreón's funeral. Rodríguez was assassinated the same day.

"They told me, 'You're next,' and because of the way things are, I decided to take my family and leave.

"I left everything: my house, my office. I left my car in a public parking lot. I was very scared. I didn't ask the authorities for help, I don't trust them. My biggest worry right now is my website - I haven't updated it since Thursday (13 November)."

"La Polaka" is an online political newspaper that frequently publishes critical reports. It covers information from the state capital of Chihuahua City, Ciudad Juárez, and El Paso, Texas.

The same day as the funeral, several other journalists also received threats and several media outlets decided to reduce the information they publish about crime in general and organised crime specifically. Reporters also try not to arrive at the scene of a crime before the police do. Two sources have confirmed this information.

CEPET expresses its concern about the wave of threats and violence and demands that the authorities immediately take steps to guarantee the ability to freely practice journalism. It reiterates that any aggression against journalists and media outlets represents an attack against society because it endangers the right to information.

For further information on the Rodríguez case, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/98510

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