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Local legislature calls for harassment of journalists who cover federal public security secretary's actions to stop

(CEPET/IFEX) - On 13 May 2009, the Federal District Legislative Assembly (Asamblea Legislativa del Distrito Federal, ALDF) passed a motion calling on the federal government to stop the arbitrary detentions of journalists who are investigating the actions of Public Security Secretary Genaro García Luna.

The objective of the motion brought forward by Member of Congress Avelino Méndez Rangel was to protect freedom of expression and access to information.

The Legislative Assembly's Standing Committee highlighted the fact that Mexico is considered to be the second most dangerous country in the world, behind Iraq, for those carrying out journalism work. It also noted that under the government of President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa the number of journalists assassinated or "disappeared" has increased.

In an interview, Méndez Rangel, who belongs to the Party of the Democratic Revolution (Partido de la Revolución Democrática, PRD), said that the actions against journalists in Mexico are alarming. He also said the Legislative Assembly's motion will be sent to the appropriate authorities and that the Interior Secretary (Secretaría de Gobernación) would be in charge of the matter.

On 27 March, Anabel Hernández, a reporter for the online magazine "Reporte Índigo", publicised the results of an investigation into the construction of a house belonging to García Luna that cost in the range of 20 million pesos (approx. US$1.4 million). Several hours later, two camera operators for TVC Noticias, Jaime Torres San Lorenzo and Rosendo Alejandro Flores, were sent to obtain video footage of the property mentioned in the "Reporte Índigo" article. The camera operators were detained, interrogated and held for more than 15 hours at facilities belonging to the federal Attorney General's Office (Procuraduría General de la República, PGR), despite the fact that they identified themselves as journalists.

In addition, on 3 April, law professor Roberto Vidal Méndez was detained as he left a radio station belonging to the Radio Centro group after having spoken about the construction of the Luna García residence.

On the same day, the National Human Rights Commission (Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos, CNDH) issued a request to García Luna, asking him to provide protection to Hernández and her family since the journalist feared for her safety and felt that her freedom of expression rights were being jeopardised.

The motion brought forward by Méndez Rangel urges the federal government to take appropriate action against those responsible for these arbitrary detentions and to carry out fully the CNDH's recommendations with respect to protecting Hernández and her family.

Méndez Rangel also said that another motion is being prepared calling for García Luna to be dismissed from his position.

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    (CEPET/IFEX) - Camera operators Jaime Torres San Lorenzo and Rosendo Alejandro Flores of TVC Noticias were detained on 27 March 2009 and interrogated for 15 hours after filming what is thought to be property belonging to Genaro García Luna, the federal public security secretary, as part of a work assignment.

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