“Justice for Mario” (@APECOCH)
From November 9th to 13th, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) visited Chiapas to monitor the progress that has been made in the investigation of reporter Mario Gomez’s murder, which occurred last September 21st in the municipality of Yajalon and to document the situation of freedom of the press and expression in the state. They conducted interviews with relatives and acquaintances of the El Heraldo de Chiapas correspondent, journalists from local and national media based in Chiapas, human rights defenders organizations and state authorities, as well as with the State Attorney General’s Office and the transition team of the Governor-elect Rutilio Escandon.
At the end of their visit, they affirmed that Chiapas is already a “red flag” in terms of freedom of the press and of expression, with Yajalon, Chilon, Tapachula, Comitan and the entire border strip being the areas with the greatest risk to practice journalism, due to the presence of organized crime. They documented intimidations, threats, lawsuits and physical aggressions, as well as a strong job precariousness. “This violence has provoked self-censorship among reporters that cover issues such as corruption, social conflicts, abuses of power by authorities, organized crime and its relationship with the authorities,” they said.
In the case of what happened to Mario Leonel Gomez Sanchez, they acknowledged that although there are advances, it is necessary to inquire who were the intellectual authors who gave the order to execute the journalist. They asserted that there are sufficient elements to consider that the murder of Mario Gomez was linked to his journalistic work.
“It is urgent that the incoming government of the governor-elect Rutilio Escandon develop comprehensive public policies of prevention, protection and combatting impunity, in order to guarantee the free exercise of journalism in the state,” stressed both organizations among several other recommendations.
It should be remembered that according to figures from RWB and CPJ, Mexico is the deadliest country for journalism in the Western Hemisphere, with at least nine private reporters losing their lives this year to date.
For more information in Spanish:
Chiapas es ya “un foco rojo” en materia de libertad de prensa y de expresión: RSF y CPJ (Proceso, 13 de noviembre de 2018)
Chiapas foco rojo en agresiones contra periodistas: Reporteros Sin Fronteras (Heraldo de México, 13 de noviembre de 2018)
Exigen dar con verdaderos responsables de asesinar a Mario Gómez, en Chiapas (Excelsior, 13 de noviembre de 2018)
Organizaciones internacionales declaran a Chiapas “foco rojo” en materia de libertad de prensa y de expresión (Chiapas Paralelo, 13 de noviembre de 2018)
Comunicado conjunto de CPJ y RSF sobre la visita que ambas organizaciones acabamos de realizar en el estado de #Chiapas (CPJ Américas, 13 de noviembre de 2018)
Urgen políticas públicas a favor de periodistas (Cuarto Poder, 14 de noviembre de 2018)
For more information from SIPAZ:
Chiapas: Fourth Suspect Arrested One Month after Murder of Journalist Mario Gomez (November 1st, 2018)
Chiapas: Three Arrested for the Murder of Journalist Mario Gomez (October 8th, 2018)
Chiapas: Heraldo de Chiapas Journalist Murdered in Yajalon (September 27th, 2018)