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Threats continue as authorities fail to protect investigative journalist Lydia Cacho

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - Mexico City, 30.06.11: Just a few weeks before the visit of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, Lydia Cacho, investigative journalist, human rights defender and ARTICLE 19 trustee, has once again received death threats referring to her journalism.

"Some two weeks after the authorities were informed of death threats towards renowned investigative journalist Lydia Cacho, we are still waiting for them to conduct a proper and full investigation. Their lack of due diligence in tackling this threat is emblematic of a general pattern of state inaction as far as violence against journalists is concerned, and one of the main causes for the regime of impunity that is prevailing in the country at large, " said Dr Agnes Callamard, ARTICLE 19 Executive Director.

Cacho, who received the threats on 14 June, is a well known and outspoken human rights defender. The threats made direct reference to her journalism and are evidence of the continuing surveillance and risk she faces. They are also emblematic of the wider pattern of violence against journalists and human rights defenders in Mexico.

Despite repeated and well known acts of violence against Cacho, the response of the Mexican authorities has been marked by unjustified delay and a failure to properly investigate the facts.

In 2009, the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) issued precautionary measures in favour of Cacho as a result of her concerns and complaints regarding armed men monitoring and harassing her. However, as shown by these recent threats, nothing has changed. The unwillingness of the Mexican state to protect Cacho has resulted in only half the measures being implemented.

"ARTICLE 19 has repeatedly emphasised that threats of this nature should not be taken lightly by the authorities. Such threats when not investigated have often preceded graver abuses against Mexican journalists. The lack of proper investigation increases the vulnerability of individual journalists being targeted as well as the media more generally, and sends the wrong message to the perpetrators," continued Dr Callamard.

Cacho published in 2005 a book, "The Demons of Eden, the Power Protecting Child Pornography", which revealed the existence of a child pornography ring operating under the protection of politicians and businessmen. Since its publication, Cacho has continued to investigate and report on corruption, violence against women, organised crime, human trafficking and illegal drug smuggling - all subjects that have attracted great risk.

Cacho recently published another book, "Servants of power: a journey into the heart of trafficking of women and girls in the world", which includes names of public officials linked to organised crime networks that are yet to be investigated or prosecuted by the authorities.

ARTICLE 19 calls on the international community to express their concern regarding the death threats against Cacho, and the Mexican authorities' unwillingness to address violence against journalists.

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