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IFEX-ALC condemns alarming levels of violence against journalists in Mexico

Despite the introduction of special protection mechanisms, the Mexican State’s measures have proven ineffective in curbing killings and disappearances of journalists.

Photos of slain Mexican journalists placed around the Interior Minister's Office
Photos of slain Mexican journalists placed around the Interior Minister's Office

Associated Press

ATTN:

President Enrique Peña Nieto
Residencia oficial de Los Pinos, Molino del Rey s/n,
Col. San Miguel Chapultepec, Distrito Federal. C.P. 11850

COPY TO:


Miguel Angel Osorio Chong
Minister of the Interior

CONAGO: National Conference of Governors

25 May 2017

Your Excellency,

IFEX-ALC, an alliance of 23 organisations in Latin America and the Caribbean that promotes and defends freedom of expression throughout the region, expresses deep concern with the Mexican state's inability to respond effectively to the extreme levels of violence against journalists in the country and its ongoing lack of compliance with international obligations to guarantee free speech.

The recent killing of Jesus Javier Valdez Cardenas in the state of Sinaloa, which brings the total number of journalists killed this year to six as well as the recent disappearance of Salvador Adame in Michoacan on 19 May raise serious questions about the Mexican state's ability to protect journalists. The continuation of attacks against freedom of expression and near universal impunity in these cases (less than 1% prosecution rate) throughout President Peña's mandate are indicative not only of his administration's incompetence in bringing perpetrators to justice, but also of a lack of political will to do so.

An official government statement on 17 May 2017 titled “Actions for Freedom of Expression and for the Protection of Journalists” attributes attacks on journalists to organised crime. However, research conducted by Article 19's Mexico and Central America Office, a member of IFEX-ALC, reveals that more than 50% of these aggressions are committed by State agents, including municipal police forces and military.

A recent access to information request submitted by ARTICLE 19 (SEGOB #Oficio USPA/004/2017), revealed that during 2016 both police and military attacked journalists under the precautionary measures of the publicly funded Special Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists. These attacks and the widespread impunity associated with them cast serious doubt on the effectiveness of the publicly funded Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Freedom of Expression.

As a regional network extremely concerned with the unacceptable state-sanctioned limitations on freedom of expression in Mexico, we call on President Peña, Minister of the Interior Osorio Chong, and the state decision makers represented in CONAGO to take swift and meaningful action to ensure protection and justice for journalists and to develop a clear, transparent plan with mechanisms to monitor implementation of the recently announced Actions for Freedom of Expression and for the Protection of Journalists and Human Rights Defenders.

We also call for an inquiry into the attacks by state agents on journalists being protected under the Special Protection Mechanism. Finally, we demand answers in relation to Salvador Adame's disappearance as well as the 23 other journalists disappeared in Mexico since 2003.

IFEX-ALC will monitor the Mexican state's actions in response to unacceptable levels of violence and impunity. We hope for a sincere and transparent commitment to protect freedom of expression and the diversity of opinions. Violence against the press must be eradicated.

Sincerely,

IFEX-ALC

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