Despite the violence, Mexican authorities stay silent

Despite the murder of three journalists last week, the developing trend of self-censorship amongst the media and the fleeing of one journalist from the country to save his life, both the Mexican Administration and the country’s national Human Rights Commission have remained silent on the issue of press freedom and violence against journalists.

As pointed out in a communique week by the Mexico Programme of Article 19, ‘this week’s incidents have only resulted in a resounding silence from the authorities. This can only be explained by a lack of political will to fulfill the government’s responsibilities vis-à-vis human rights violations.’

The NGO also lamented the fact that during her recent visit Lousie Arbour, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, failed to tackle the issue. Instead, she lambasted Calderon for using the army in the country’s fight against narco-traffick.

It would have been a ‘great opportunity to draw he government’s attention to the threats on freedom of expression,” said Artile 19.

‘Unfortunately, Arbour chose to not raise the topic of journalists’ safety during her visit, thus failing to provide some much needed support to local organisations fighting to address the matter’

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2 Responses

  1. Re: ‘developing trend of self-censorship’

    The Mexican mainstream media has a long history of self-censorship, given that newsprint supplies use to be controlled by the Interior Ministry (Gobernación), by way of PIPSA. Today, PIPSA is basically a paraestatal, or mixed ownership company. But withholding government sponsored advertising is still a very effective method of media control in Mexico. Critical media coverage here results in restricted or total loss of advertising revenues from government entities. Self-censorship is an established media practice in Mexico.
    That the narcos are availing themselves of this tactic should not come as a surprise– the operative model was already conveniently in place. Granted the stakes–no advertising budget vs. getting killed– are not comparable. But when you have (August 2007) the Interior Ministry (Gobernación) basically backing the narco offensive against journalists (http://www.ifex.org/es/content/view/full/85279), and not protecting them, well, it’s really a ‘trend’ that has been developing for a long time.

  2. You know, I was surprised enough when I saw that IFEX story last summer to call around and ask about it. It turned out the original source was some sports paper in DF. Nobody else had heard Medina Mora make such a statement. For certain, nobody else published it.
    That’s not to say the government doesn’t back organized crime against journalists, but I don’t think this is the best example.

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