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Individual assassinated in Nuevo Laredo for allegedly moderating online forum

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - Mexico City, 14 November 2011 - On 10 November 2011, members of an organised crime group in northeastern Mexico assassinated an unidentified individual believed to be an online forum moderator, accusing him of having publicised information about criminal activities in the city of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas state. The assassins left the corpse in the same location where the body of journalist María Elizabeth Macías was found on 25 September. Macías had been accused of having given information to the army and marines about drug trafficking in the area.

A note left with the corpse of the more recently assassinated individual said he was one of the moderators of the "Nuevo Laredo en Vivo" forum, to which Macías apparently also contributed. Although the identity of the latest victim has not been determined and his contributions to a particular website have not yet been confirmed, the assassination was presented as a reprisal carried out by a crime group against an informant, similar to another assassination involving two unidentified youths who were accused of disseminating information about criminal activities and drug trafficking.

ARTICLE 19 views these assassinations as part of a strategy in the state of Tamaulipas to terrorise Internet users in order to control the circulation of information. Tamaulipas is not the only state where incidents against Internet users are taking place. The arrest of two individuals in Veracruz on terrorism and sabotage charges for having publicised unconfirmed information via Twitter, and cyber attacks against sites like Narcoviolencia.com, which reported on crimes in the state, along with threats against editors of the sites, are evidence of the fact that the authorities are also responsible for some of the attempts to control the dissemination of information.

ARTICLE 19 is concerned that, in addition to attacks against journalists, other citizens are also now being targeted, as a form of "indirect censorship". The organisation calls on the authorities in Tamaulipas and Veracruz to fully investigate the abovementioned crimes and protect the right of all citizens to freedom of expression.

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