On 20 March, in the Museum for Memory and Tolerance in Mexico City, the organization Article 19 for Mexico and Central America publicly presented its report “Forced Silence: The State, complicit with violence against the press in Mexico,” which documents a total of 172 aggressions against journalists in 2011. Of these, 9 were murders against journalists and 2 against media workers. Also reported were 2 disappearances and 8 attacks with firearms or explosives targeting media offices.
The report also notes that the major aggressor against the press continues to be the State itself: 53.63% of attacks were committed by public officials, in contrast to 15.63% of these being committed by elements of organized crime, though this latter force commits the most violence aggressions. Dario Ramírez, director of Article 19, commented that these statistics “show to be untrue the version promoted by President Felipe Calderón, attributing to drug-traffickers violence against journalists.” The states with the highest number of registered violent attacks as exercised by public officials against the press are Chihuahua (47 cases), Veracruz (33), Oaxaca (25), Chiapas (19), and Mexico City (17).
The report notes that National Commission on Human Rights’ (CNDH) Program on Assault against Journalists and Civil Human-Rights Defenders lacks an adequate methodology to register and document attacks. Dario Ramírez detailed that “the number of complaints regarding violations of right to free expression made by those who work in journalism has increased, in contrast with the number of recommendations regarding the situation of violence and impunity faced by the press” (22 in 2011).
Also denounced was the fact that the Special Prosecutorial Office for Attention to Crimes against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE), an office that since its creation in 2006 has changed names on four occasions and seen its budget diminished by 72.36%, has undertaken penal action in 27 cases, having succeeded in releasing only one condemnatory sentence, reflecting the grave situation of impunity in terms of the prosecution of crimes against press-workers. Furthermore, in 2010 FEADLE was observed to be inadequate 91.79% of the time.
For more information (in Spanish):
- Informe completo: Silencio forzado. El Estado cómplice de la violencia contra la prensa en México
- Artículo 19: agentes del Estado cometen el 53.6% de las agresiones contra periodistas (Proceso, 20 de marzo de 2012)
- Tamaulipas, entre estados con más asesinatos de periodistas(Milenio, 20 de marzo de 2012)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):
Oaxaca: Article 19 condemns attacks on journalists (22 March 2012)