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Columnist found dead in his home in Mexico

Between 23 and 25 January 2014, ARTICLE 19 has recorded numerous incidents, involving a columnist in the state of Guerrero, the owner of a newspaper in Veracruz and the relative of a journalist in Chiapas.

In Chilpancingo, Guerreo, Professor Miguel Ángel Guzmán Garduño was found dead. He was a columnist for Vértigo newspaper and the former Communications Secretary for the Public Servants Union in the state of Guerrero (Sindicato Único de Servidores Públicos del Estado de Guerrero, SUSPEG).

The State Attorney General said a forensic medical examination had revealed that Guzmán Garduño, whose body was found in his home on the night of 23 January, had died from asphyxiation as a result of being strangled.

“The house was found in disarray and some electronics were missing, as well as his car,” said the Attorney General's office.

As an occasional writer for Vértigo, Guzmán Garduño had stood out for his publications on the work of the SUSPEG, said a source who was familiar with Guzmán's work.

In Álamo Temapache, Veracruz, Ulises Mejía del Ángel, owner and partner in the newspaper Notivisión, was the victim of an attempted kidnapping on 23 January. The people responsible were caught in the act, but before being seen by the Public Ministry, they were released on the orders of a municipal judge.

According to information from Notivisión, the Public Ministry is going to undertake an investigation “to find out who was responsible and why the municipal authorities freed these criminals."

In just under a year, Notivisión has suffered many threats for its critical work on the local public administration. This latest incident should force the Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists of the Ministry of the Interior, at the federal level, as well as other government agencies in the State, to order a number of protective measures to ensure the safety of the media outlet and its employees.

“This media house, where Mr. Mejía del Ángel is a partner, has now been the target of dangerous attacks multiple times, and this latest attempt could be considered a threat to the NAMVEI Editores company as well”, said Notivisión.

In Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, ARTICLE 19 documented judicial harassment of a relative of journalist Sandra De los Santos. De los Santos is a reporter for the website Chiapas Paralelo, which has been the target of judicial harassment in the past. According to De los Santos, her relative was told they were a “likely culprit” for the crime of extortion and had been quoted in an enquiry from June 2013. The journalist said she considers this to be an attempt to lean on her editorial line and that of her outlet.

ARTICLE 19 belives that the pattern of violence against the press is continuing to take root all over the country and that the Mexican State must prevent, identify and punish those responsible for press freedom violations.

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