Tag Archive | "murdered journalists"

Mexico: Concerns for Media After Another Journalist Murdered

Journalists in Mexico protesting against violence.

Journalists in Mexico protesting against violence. (Photo courtesy of Knight Foundation)

The Inter-american Press Society (SIP) today condemned the recent murder of journalist Alberto López Bello in Oaxaca, saying that the lack of protection for journalists leads to self-censorship.

SIP demanded that the government of Mexico investigate the crime and find solutions to the insecurity of the press and to punish the attacks on reporters.

López Bello, 28, was a reporter for El Imparcial of Oaxaca. He was killed in the early hours of Wednesday, 17th July. His body was found with various bullet wounds in the neighbourhood “La Humedad” of Trinidad of Viguera, located close to the city of Oaxaca, alongside the body of Alejandro Franco Rojas, of the local Police.

The president of the Commision of Freedom of the Press and Information, Claudio Paolillo, responded that, “cases like this demonstrate the inefficiency and fragility of government policies to guarantee the physical integrity of the journalists.”

Paolillo added: “the inefficiency of the law to protect and the delays in punishing these acts of violence affect the quality and quantity of news that journalists can offer the citizens of Mexico. Afraid of the repercussions, the media and the journalists feel obligated to practice self-censorship as an act of survival.”

El Imparcial released a statement saying that this crime “demonstrates the vulnerability journalists face daily in their work to provide accurate and timely information to the citizens.”

López Bello had been covering police news for El Imparcial for the last six years, and his work is thought to be a possible motive for his murder.

In October 2007, three journalists from the same paper were killed in the city of Tuxtepec in Oaxaca, in a case that has still not been solved. The attack caused the closure of the news office in the area, which had been subject to constant threats by presumed members of criminal organisations.

The death of López Bello occured only a couple of weeks after the body of Honduran journalist, Aníbal Barrow, was found.

The director of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the death of Barrow, and said “not punishing crimes of this type debilitates the freedom of expression.”

Juan Mairena, president of the Honduras Journalist Association, urged authorities to clarify “whether or not the motive for his murder was his profession.”

Since the coup four years ago, which disposed democratically-elected president Manuel Zelaya, media repression in Honduras has been amongst the worst in the world.

Posted in Current Affairs, News From Latin America, Round Ups Latin AmericaComments (0)

Mexico: Another Journalist Found Dead in Veracruz

A Mexican journalist was found dead today two blocks from the Veracruz government palace, after being kidnapped from outside of his office last night.

Reports state that Víctor Manuel Báez Chino was forced into a grey van by three armed gunmen just before midnight yesterday. Mexico’s El Universal says a search begun last night, that ended when Báez’s body was found around 5am this morning.

Veracruz social communication co-ordinator Gina Domínguez Colío expressed condolences on behalf of the governor and announced full support for the family of Báez, who was the director of the Police Reports section of the daily Milenio Xalapa. She also announced that the government had begun a full inquiry.

“Those who attacked and killed Victor Báez committed a crime that hurt his family and offends the journalists’ union, and also seek to intimidate a society and make a government retract its determination to combat criminal groups that seek to undermine our right to live in peace,” the official stressed, according to El Universal.

Báez’s murder is part of a string of journalist deaths and disappearances in Mexico.

On 28 April, also in Xalapa, weekly newspaper reporter Regina Martínez was found dead in her home; the body had bruises and showed signs of strangulation. On May 3, the remains of three photographers were found on in a canal in Boca del Río, a municipality also in the state of Veracruz.

On May 17, Marco Antonio Ávila García was kidnapped by three masked gang members at a car wash in Ciudad Obregon in the northern Mexican state of Sonora. The tortured body of the journalist was later found by side of a road.

A Mexican journalist and her two-year-old son disappeared 8th June under “mysterious circumstances” in the northern city of Saltillo, located in state of Coahuila about 850km north of Mexico City. Cardoso reportedly telephoned friends at 2am to report that she had returned home safely, but she did not show up to work the following day. When relatives went to her house Friday, they discovered that the journalist and her child were not there. Everything was in disarray, and her camera was smashed on the floor.

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Mexico: Two Journalists Found Dead on Press Freedom Day

The mutilated corpses of two Mexican photographers were found on Thursday in the Mexican state of Veracruz. The UN recognises this date as World Press Freedom Day.

These murders are unfortunately no surprise for the country, which has been marred by violence over the past decade. On Wednesday, 13 police officers were arrested after a shootout between military and a group of civilians killed 12 people earlier that morning.

The Veracruz government reported in a statement that the bodies of photographers Guillermo Luna and Gabriel Huge were discovered chopped up in garbage bags that had been dumped in a canal in the town of Boca del Rio.

Luna worked for the agency Veracruznews, while Huge had worked until recently for the newspaper Notiver. According to Reuters, Huge had received threats in recent months and spent a good deal of time out of the state, according to colleagues.

About 50,000 people have died in Mexico from drug-related violence since President Felipe Caldarón began a cartel and trafficking crackdown in 2006.

Violence against journalists is becoming increasingly common in Mexico. In the last decade over 70 journalists have been murdered in Mexico, according to the government-funded National Human Rights Commission.

The country is currently ranked 149th out of 179 countries in terms of press freedom by the organisation Journalist’s Without Borders. The organisation warns that the country is marked by a culture of violence towards the media that has taken a deep hold and says it will be hard to reverse the trends.

Only last Saturday, Regina Martinez, a correspondent for Proceso magazine in Veracruz was found murdered.

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Honduras: Indigenous Groups Lambast Mining Bill

Environmental and indigenous groups in Honduras are fighting a recently-introduced bill, which is set to expand the country’s mining and hydrocarbon sectors.

The Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organisations of Honduras (COPINH) denounced the bill in a release on the 24th January.

The organisation called on people to act against the mining bill, encouraging them to engage in a “permanent fight against the increasing militarisation of the entire national territory.”

In another release from 18th January, the organisation noted that the bill threatens both the environment and the country’s inhabitants.

“This bill is just a further example of the pressure that the business world exerts on Congress, most of which is composed of supporters of the coup d’état,” the organisation stated in a press release. “[Congress] is discredited because of its lack of ethics and transparency, because many of its decisions are dictated by corruption, and because of its servile attitude to economic, transnational, political and military power.”

COPINH said there are currently 130 mining applications pending in Honduras, and 21 more were approved in the week prior to COPINH’s release.

“We all know about the impunity in which these transnationals of death operate, not even waiting for laws or decrees before entering the country and embarking on studies, exploration and mining,” the release stated.

According to the Honduras Weekly, journalists working for press freedom and reporting on the mining bill, such as Gilda Silvestrucci, have received death threats. A total of 24 journalists have been killed in Honduras in the past decade, 17 of them since the coup of 2009.

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Mexico: Murder Aimed at Media

On Saturday authorities found the decapitated body of a woman in her late thirties in Nuevo Lardeo, Mexico. Police have identified the victim as María Elizabeth Macías, the editor of Primera Hora newspaper.

According to the public prosecutor’s office Marcías body was found with a threatening note which authorities attribute to organised crime. Marcías’ death follows several other recent murders in the area.

Two weeks ago the naked bodies of a man and a woman were hung from a bridge in Nuevo Laredo.  Attached to the corpses was a message threatening members of the media who report on drug-related violence or post such incidents on social networks.

Marcías is the twelfth murdered journalist in Mexico since 2010 according to Reporters Without Borders.

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Honduras: Human Rights Organisation Condemned Murders of Journalists

The Platform for Human Rights of Honduras condemns the murders of the journalists. It also demanded clarification of the crimes. This past year, ten journalists have died. Last Tuesday, Israel Zelaya Díaz was found dead.

The member of the Organisation of Human Rights, Alba Mejía, expressed her concern about violence against journalists after the coup.

In statements to TeleSur, Mejía said, “The murders of journalists are of deep concern for human rights organisations and the Honduran community.”

In the same sentiment, the president of the Committee for Free Expression, Osman López, said the murders “are part of the impunity and powerlessness that is in Honduras in general.” He added that there is “widespread impunity”.

Moreover, the International Press Institute (IPI) rated “Honduras as the second most dangerous country in the world for journalists”.

Last June, the Organisation of Ibero-American Journalists (OPI) announced the filing of a complaint before the International Criminal Court against the current president, Porfirio Lobo.

The reason would be that the attacks against the journalists in Honduras were ignored, under his presidency.

Last Tuesday, the body of the journalist Israel Zelaya Díaz, 56, was found. The remains were found in the northern town of San Pedro Sula, with three gunshot wounds.

Story courtesy of Agencia Pulsar, a news agency run by AMARC-ALC network of community radios

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Honduras: Tenth Journalist Killed During 2010

The journalist Israel Zelaya Díaz was found dead Tuesday afternoon near San Pedro Sula, in northern Honduras. This is the tenth journalist killed so far this year.

Zelaya’s body was found with his belongings, including mobile phone and wallet, on a road 200 kilometers north of Tegucigalpa.

The journalist was killed with three shots to the head and left in a sugar cane plantation.

Recently, he had participated in a meeting where he announced he was the target of a criminal attempt when unknown people set fire to his house.

Since February, there have been ten journalists killed; all the crimes have occurred during Porfirio Lobo Sosa’s government.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH) in April urged the Honduran state to investigate and prosecute the people who committed the murders.

However, so far no one has been prosecuted for the murders of the journalists.

It is worth recalling that the Resistance Front has repeatedly reported that Lobo’s government is the continuation of the coup.

In this regard, last week the Committee of Relatives of Detained and Disappeared of Honduras reported the discovery of a mass grave containing more than 100 bodies of missing people of the last three months.

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Story courtesy of Agencia Pulsar, a news agency run by AMARC-ALC network of community radios

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