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Nuevo Día journalist gets death threats in Sonora

(ARTICLE19/IFEX) - Mexico City, 20 July 2012 - Hiram González Machi, a journalist with the daily Nuevo Día and director of a news programme on the local station Canal Siete, received death threats from criminals as part of a break-in at his home on the night of 16 July 2012.

The incident took place just before 10:30 p.m., when the journalist arrived home to his apartment and found the lights on inside. He discovered that the intruders had used tools to cut open the gate at the side of his home, and inside had caused damage to his furniture and the water and gas lines. He also found messages containing death threats on the floor and on top of a table.

González Machi, who covers the crime beat, told ARTICLE 19 that this was the fourth time his home had been broken into. In the three previous break-ins the criminals had stolen computer equipment, a TV and other valuable items. This time, however, nothing was taken; the only evidence was damage to his property and the threat "Reporter, you're going to die".

ARTICLE 19 urgently calls on the government of Sonora and the state special prosecutor to investigate this case, sanction those responsible, and act quickly to safeguard the physical safety of González Machi.

In the past six years, two journalists have been killed in Sonora, a third went missing, and one media outlet decided to stop publishing indefinitely, after having been the target of two explosives attacks.

ARTICLE 19 also calls on the federal government to comply with its obligation to bring to justice those who seek, through intimidation and violence, to erase civil liberties, including the right to freedom of expression.

(Please note this is an abridged translation.)

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