National: Increase in attacks on journalists in Mexico

December 27, 2015

@Cuartoscuro

@Cuartoscuro

In recent weeks have transpired a number of attacks and acts of harassment against journalists in Mexico.  On 20 November in Mexico City, the home of the journalist Gloria Muñoz Ramírez was raided.  Muñoz Ramírez is the director of the electronic magazine Desinformémonos and a columnist for La Jornada.  Moreover, the editorship of Desinformémonos suffered a robbery and a cyber-attack.  The magazine is dedicated to documenting popular struggles and social movements in Mexico and throughout the world.  “This attack takes place within the context of grave attacks on journalists in the country, thus harming the right to information and putting at risk the lives, integrity, and personal security of those who dedicate themselves to communication,” noted the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Center for Human Rights, based in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, in a communique.

Moreover, on 25 November, the journalist Maite Azuela received a death-threat at her home in Mexico City.  The articles written by the journalist are dedicated to human-rights policies and violations, recently related to the Army, as led by General Salvador Cienfuegos, and the state government of Puebla, directed by Rafael Moreno Valle. On 27 November in Guerrero, the general secretary of the state government, Florencio Salazar Adame, interrupted into a radio program and threatened the journalist Sergio Ocampo Arista, a news reporter, who had been discussing “suspicious” acts taken by the State.  According to the Journalistic Investigation Agency, Salazar Adame “arrived violently to the radio station and took the microphone to warn Ocampo […] that he should be careful with the criticisms he launches against the PRI government of Astudillo Flores,” governor of Guerrero.  Recently in Veracruz, at least 12 journalists were attacked by public-security forces.

Amidst these incidents, the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH) and Amnesty International Mexico (AI Mexico) submitted more than 12,000 signatures to the state authorities to demand that all the necessary measures be taken so that the Mechanism of Protection for Rights-Defenders and Journalists in Mexico function effectively. CMDPDH and AI indicated that the “work of rights-defenders in the country is risky and despite the fact that since 2012, there exists a law establishing a mechanism to protect these defenders and journalists who are at risk, it has not been implemented effectively due to lack of interest on the part of politicians.”  From 2000 to date, the National Commission on Human Rights in Mexico (CNDH) has registered 107 murders of journalists; 20 disappearances of journalists between 2005 and 2015; 48 attacks on media institutions from 2006 to date and a total of 506 complaints from 2010 to 2015.  Beyond this, between 2014 and 2015 the CNDH has authorized 26 precautionary measures.

For more information (in Spanish):

Recibe amenaza de muerte articulista Maite Azuela en el Distrito Federal (Desinformémonos, 30 de noviembre de 2015)

Periodistas veracruzanos exigen tipificar delito de “ataque a la libertad de expresión” y garantías de seguridad (Revolución 3.0, 29 de noviembre de 2015)

Secretario general del gobierno priista de Guerrero irrumpe en cabina de radio con sus guaruras y amenaza a periodista (Revolución 3.0, 28 de noviembre de 2015)

Basta de agresiones contra periodistas en México (Desinformémonos, 27 de noviembre de 2015)

Exigen eficacia en protección a periodistas (El Economista, 26 de noviembre de 2015)

Condenamos agresiones a periodistas y el ataque a Desinformémonos (Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, 24 de noviembre de 2015)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National/Mexico: Torture and murder of journalist and four women (10 September 2015)

National: Disappeared journalist Gregorio Jiménez is found dead (16 February 2014)

National/International: PBI and WOLA publish report on Mechanism of Protection for Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists in Mexico (10 February 2015)

National: A delicate moment for the Mechanism for the Protection of Rights Defenders and Journalists (30 March 2014)

Oaxaca: New attacks on journalists (2 September 2014)

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Guerrero: Precautionary measures denied to Norma Mesino Mesino, leader of the Campesino Organization of the Southern Sierra (OCSS)

March 1, 2015

Norma Mesina (@Haz que se vean)

Norma Mesina (@Haz que se vean)

In February, both the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights as well as the National Network of Human-Rights Defenders in Mexico (RNDDHM) demanded that the Secretary of Governance, Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, take the necessary steps so that the Mexican State effectively protect the life of Norma Mesino Mesino, a human-rights defenders from Guerrero State and leader of the Campesino Organization of the Southern Sierra (OCSS).

The two groups denounced that she had been subjected to libel, death-threats, and direct as well as indirect attacks in recent months.  The Mexican Commission detailed that “Norma Mesino and her close co-workers have received anonymous messages containing death-threats, they have been photographed and videotaped during different public events, and Norma’s security cameras have been disabled.  All of this comes in addition to the deficient escort work provided by the state police, who constantly distance themselves from the vehicle in which she travels, thus completely losing the point of their work of protection and reaction to an unexpected dangerous situation.”

In October 2014, the case was presented before the Mechanism for Protection for Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists, but the Secretary for Governance responded negatively, given his assessment that there was “no evidence of threats that put the defender at risk…”  Amidst this context, the Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights has requested precautionary measures from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Norma Mesino Mesino is the sister of Rocío Mesino, who belonged to the same organization and was killed in October 2013.

For more information (in Spanish):

Carta pública de la RNDDHM (Página3.mx, 9 de febrero de 2015)

Piden ONG a Osorio Chong proteger a Norma Mesino (La Jornada de Guerrero, 10 de febrero de 2015)

SEGOB niega protección a Norma Mesino, defensora de derechos humanos en grave riesgo en Guerrero (CMDPDH, 5 de febrero de 2015)

Presentación de la defensora Norma Mesino (Haz que se vean, video y resumen)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Guerrero: Impunity one year after the murder of Rocío Mesino Mesino, OCSS leader (26 October 2014)

Guerrero: murder of a social activist from the Campesino Organization of the Southern Sierra (12 November 2013)

Guerrero: Murder of leader of the Organization of Ecologist Campesinos of the Sierra de Petatlán and Coyuca de Catalán (7 December 2012)