President’s office bars critical magazine?

A release this morning says that Proceso, one of Mexico’s most well-respected an critical titles, has apparently been barred from covering tours by President Felipe Calderon due to its consitently critical tone.

The Center for Journalism and Public Ethics (CEPET) issued this statement this morning following last week’s publication of Proceso, in which it said that its journalists have not been included in a Presidential tour since March last year.

According to an article written by reporter Daniel Lizárraga, entitled “La guerra contra Proceso”, the magazine is only being included in events at the President’s home – Los Pinos – or in states near the capital.

More to come…..

Mexico, narco traffick and journalists

Browsing through my feeds this morning, I came across this story on the Los Angeles Times which documents well the experiences many journalists working in Mexico covering the drug trade experience.

Although studies have found that violence against journalists stems as much from Government officials as it does from narco-traffic, Hector’s piece really gives some insight into the reality for many in the profession.

Read the story here:

Local reporter shot dead in Western Mexico

LOCAL NEWSPAPER REPORTER GUNNED DOWN IN MICHOACÁN STATE FOR UNKNOWN REASONSA local reporter, who covered agriculture and occasionally crime in the western Mexican state of Michoacán, was shot dead on Saturday night.

Gerardo Israel García Pimentel, who wrote for the daily La Opinión de Michoacán, was found in the stairway of the car park of the hotel in which he lived. He had been shot about 20 times with an assault rifle and a revolver, according to Reporters Without Borders.

A brother and cousin of his are reportedly missing, according to the local press in the state, and his fellow journalists said that they weren’t aware of any motive for the killing.

Senior staff at La Opinión de Michoacán said that García Pimentel “basically covered agricultural stories and sometimes breaking news, but only occasionally.” Continue reading

Writers and NGOs: Supreme Court Ruling is a ‘Disgrace’

Writers, journalists and non-governmental organisations have called the Supreme Court’s decision at the end of last week a ‘disgrace’. The Court ruled that the rights of journalist Lydia Cacho’s had not been sufficiently violated to warrant legal action against Puebla State Governor Mario Marin.

In a show of solidarity for the journalist, twenty of the country’s writers signed a brief declaration in Guadalajara over the weekend that says that the Supreme Court’s decision last week not to investigate the alleged human rights abuses against Cacho has disgraced the country, according to reports in today’s newspapers.

In addition, a number of the country’s NGOs that work in issues of press freedom and freedom of expression today issued a statement saying that the Supreme Court decision violates human rights. Continue reading

Supreme Court Decides Cacho’s Rights Not Violated Enough

A screen shot from the film The fight for press freedom in Mexico was dealt a serious blow this week after the country’s Supreme Court found that the rights of journalist Lydia Cacho were not violated enough by the state governor of Puebla, Mario Marin, for action to be taken against him.

The Court rejected a report by its own Commission on Tuesday that found that Marin and 29 of his officials had conspired to violate Cacho’s rights. Its ten judges voted 6-4 yesterday that although there was evidence of criminal acts, and some rights violations did take place, they did not meet the ‘standards necessary’ for the court to recommend action to be taken.

The decision has infuriated the journalistic community and human rights groupsin Mexico, who after Tuesday’s recommendations from the Commission were optimistic that Marin would be taken to task for his role in the mistreatment and harassment of Cacho.

On hearing the outcome of the case, Cacho said: “The court’s decision is a defeat for Mexican journalists who inform the public and investigate cases linked to human-trafficking. Continue reading

Breaking News on Lydia Cacho case…

Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho Ribeiro, herself a victim of human rights abuses, listens to the tale of the friend of a prison inmate.Breaking News: Reports just breaking say that the Mexican Supreme court has concluded that Puebla governor Mario Marin will in fact NOT be investigated following accusations from investigative journalist Lydia Cacho that he was part of a child pornography ring.

This is contrary to reports on Monday that the Governor of Puebla, Mario Marin looked likely to be investigated for his role in the case.

El Universal reports that this is because taped phone conversations have been rejected as admissible, legal proof.

More to follow…….

Murder attempt on human rights activist, says report

Alberto Capella Ibarra in his house, damaged by Tuesday morning's attackArmed men opened fire on the house of Alberto Capella Ibarra, a freedom of information advocate who lives in Baja California, Mexico, at 230am on Tuesday morning.

According to Article 19, around 20 gunmen opened fire on the house of the chairman of the Citizen Council on Public Security (Consejo Ciudadano de Seguridad Pública) in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The police took half-an-hour to respond, according to the report, despite the fact that Capella Ibarra’s house is located very close to the local police station.

Continue reading

Supreme Court Finds Governor Guilty of Violating Journalist’s Rights

Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho Ribeiro, herself a victim of human rights abuses, listens to the tale of the friend of a prison inmate.This story has been updated

Puebla state authorities have been found guilty by the Commission of the Supreme Court in Mexico of violating the rights of investigative journalist Lydia Cacho, who was arrested by Puebla police in December 2005 after publishing a book about a pedophile ring in Cancun.

The report finding it a vindication for Mexican journalists and those campaigning for freedom of expression and the end of media repression in a country which last year was judged to be the second most dangerous in the world to work as a journalist after Iraq by Reporters Without Borders.

Cacho and her case at the supreme court have become symbolic of the fight against repression and violence that journalists encounter here in Mexico, especially when their work challenges those in power. Continue reading

Mexican court sentences four for violence against journalists

Four people have been sentenced to terms ranging from three to nine years in prison by a judge in a northern Mexican state after being found guilty of the assault and robbery of three journalists from Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua.

Jaime Murrieta Briones, a photographer for “El Diario” newspaper, and Aurelio Suárez Núñez and Eugenia Cícero Rivera, reporters for the “PM” evening newspaper, were fired upon after having photographed individuals presumed to be agents of a government ministry drinking and disturbing the peace on the street, along with other individuals on the 5th of September this year, according to a report issued today from the Centre for Journalism and Public Ethics in Mexico. Continue reading

Press Freedom Report Paints Grim Picture for Latin America

Journalists in Latin America continue to be the victims of murders, threats and harassment when investigating sensitive subjects such as corruption and drug trafficking, according to the latest report from the World Association of Newspapers, and media in Mexico remains a target of violent attacks.

The report mentions the three media workers shot dead in Oaxaca in October, which it says were probably a reprisal by drug traffickers for their newspaper’s coverage El Imparcial of organized crime, but doesn’t mention the murders of Amado Ramírez, of Televisa, in Acapulco on 6 April this year and of Saúl Martínez Ortega, of the magazine Interdiario and the daily Cambio de Sonora, on 23 April, which were noted by Reporters Without Borders.

Three journalists have been killed in Columbia this year, and one in each of the following countries: El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Paraguay.

According to the organization, the number of journalists killed in 2007 is approaching the record 110 deaths last year.