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Mayor of San Felipe Usila, Oaxaca, threatens the media

(CENCOS/IFEX) - Guadalupe Inocente Isidro, a reporter for the blog "Redacción - La noticia con verdad", located in San Felipe Usila, Oaxaca, southern Mexico, has been threatened and assaulted by municipal authorities for the information she compiles and disseminates.

On 28 April 2009, the reporter was assaulted by evangelical pastor Antonio Lorenzo, who tried to stop her from covering a march in which the mayor of San Felipe Usila, Joel Isidro Inocente, was participating. Subsequently, the reporter was threatened by another municipal official, who said, "If you continue taking photographs, you are signing your death sentence."

Then, on 2 August, the mayor called a meeting in which he issued a statement to the citizens of San Felipe Usila, declaring: "Certain people are putting stones in the path. No matter what it costs, I am going to remove and erase once and for all these little stones, especially the larger ones, like the media."

As a result of the threats against them, Guadalupe Inocente Isidro and other "Redacción - La noticia de la verdad" journalists filed a complaint via a letter submitted to the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) and requested support in order to ensure their safety. The CNDH personnel informed them their case should be handled by the State Human Rights Commission and that it would be sent there.

Since 2008, 43 attacks on freedom of expression have been documented in Oaxaca, of which 50 percent have been perpetrated by government officials.

CENCOS call on the Oaxaca state government and the San Felipe Usila municipal government to implement the necessary measures to ensure the safety of Guadalupe Inocente Isidro and to safeguard freedom of expression, especially since the obstruction of citizens' right to information represents a direct threat to the consolidation of democracy. In addition, CENCOS urges the State Human Rights Commission to follow up on the journalists' complaint in a timely manner in order to avoid the reoccurrence of these types of incidents.

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