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Municipal authorities accused of preventing distribution of newspaper

(CEPET/IFEX) - 5 October 2009 - Personnel from the "Enfoque Diario" newspaper in Juchitán, Oaxaca state, southern Mexico, have reported that for the last month municipal authorities have been preventing them from distributing the publication in the region. The municipality is headed by Mariano Santana López, of the Labour Party (Partido del Trabajo, PT).

Víctor González Manríquez, the newspaper's administrador, said that Juchitán municipal police officers have prevented venders from selling "Enfoque Diario". Personnel from the newspaper tried to speak to the mayor to obtain an explanation for the police officers' actions. The mayor, however, sent them to municipal councilor Gilberto Regalado López, who told them that the newspaper vendors were violating a municipal environmental bylaw by using loudspeakers and producing "sound contamination." González Manríquez said, "This seemed absurd to us and we asked him to show us a guideline outlining the decibel level that is permitted. He told us that the guideline was the complaints received from residents. As such, we went to a judge to ask for an injuction in the matter. In the meantime, we removed the loudspeakers, but even then the police wouldn't let us sell the newspaper."

González Manríquez went on to say that on 28 September 2009 a judge granted an injunction to the newspaper allowing for its distribution in Juchitán. The municipal police, however, have continued to seize copies of "Enfoque Diario" as well as loudspeakers from the venders, even though the municipal authorities have never come forward with a complaint about any of the information the newspaper has published.

González Manríquez said that "Enfoque Diario" publishes general news and information and has circulated several citizen complaints against the Juchitán authorities. In addition, he noted that other newspapers also make announcement with loudspeakers, including right in front of the municipality's offices, and nothing has been said to them.

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