Mexico has been ignoring attacks on journalists with 99.13% continuing unpunished

At least 123 journalists have been murdered in the country since 2000 to date: 48 in the presidency of Felipe Calderón PAN, 47 in the administration of the PRI Enrique Peña Nieto, and three in less than a hundred days of the Andrés Government Manuel López Obrador. According to Article 19, of the 123 murders of journalists, the Special Prosecutor's Office for Attention to Crimes Committed against Freedom of Expression (Feadle) registered 89 cases from 2010 to 2018, of which 44 did not find any connection with the journalistic work of the victim, and 45 did find it. Of these last 45 cases, 31 are still pending, while only four have been registered or judicialized.

Number of journalists murdered In Mexico goes unpunished and military fails to beat Mexico's cartels
Number of journalists murdered In Mexico goes unpunished and military fails to beat Mexico's cartels

Of at least 1 thousand 140 investigations for attacks to the press and freedom of expression, in eight years only 10 convictions have been obtained, less than 1 percent, which shows that in Mexico "there is no justice and the authorities practice a protocol of impunity in the aggressions against journalists ", reveals the report" Protocol of the Impunity in Crimes against Journalists ", of the organization Article 19.

"The Mexican State has not fulfilled its obligations not only prevention and protection for journalism but also in law enforcement and justice. The investigations lack efficiency, completeness and impartiality; But in addition, the Prosecutor's Offices or Procurator Offices are in charge at first of discrediting or omitting the journalistic work of the victim, criminalizing or stigmatizing it, and sometimes filtering information contained in the files in a tendentious and revictimizing manner, "the civil organization pointed out.

The document, which reveals an impunity index of 99.13 per cent in the attacks against the press, was presented today by Leopoldo Maldonado, deputy director of the association Article 19, with the participation of journalists Pedro Canché, unjustly imprisoned in 2014; Alejandro Páez Varela, director of SinEmbargo; Alejandra Rodríguez and Aldo Sotelo and Jorge Sánchez, journalist and son of Moisés Sánchez, journalist murdered in 2015.

The study presents a qualitative analysis of six representative cases of violence against journalists in Mexico, from physical aggression, arbitrary detentions, harassment and threats, to the fabrication of crime and criminal proceedings, torture, disappearance and murder or execution; In addition, they "share a pattern of impunity," explained Leopoldo Maldonado.

"Impunity is the constant, it is the rule," said Leopoldo Maldonado during the presentation of the document.

Leopoldo Maldonado stressed that it is necessary for the new government to show the political will to reverse the trend of violence and attacks against the press.

"We need to have a political will on the table because, from institutions we are up to the hat, we need the deficit of compliance of the institutions to be reversed," he said.

The activist said that the administration of Andrés Manuel López Obrador has not given clear evidence of his position on the issue because so far has only been an ambivalent position that on the one hand apologizes to relatives of victims and on the other stigmatizes the press.

The level of impunity in attacks against the press is 99.13 per cent due to the inefficiency of the authorities, the document stresses. The first obstacles to accessing justice are just in ministerial investigations, he points out.

The investigations omit important measures, discard "a priori" the line of research related to the journalistic activity of the victims and generate a "stigmatizing narrative that affirms personal reasons (love, problems with neighbours, drugs, etc.) in the crimes committed, assuming with it 'historical truths', exemplifies.

From 2010 to December 2018, 1 thousand 140 investigations were initiated in the Special Prosecutor's Office for Attention to Crimes Committed against Freedom of Expression (Feadle), but only 183 files have been registered [163, in the inquisitorial criminal system and 23 at the accusatory system level, which entered into force in 2016], that is, only 16.3 per cent of the complaints received by Feadle have been judicialized.

In addition, of the total number of investigations initiated, 10 convictions have been obtained, which means that only 0.87 of the investigations resulted in a sentence against someone responsible for the crimes.

"Mexico continues to face a context of serious human rights violations and critical levels of violence where the border between authorities and criminal groups and of almost absolute impunity indices is blurred," stresses Article 19.

At least 123 journalists have been murdered in the country since 2000 to date: 48 in the presidential term of Felipe Calderón, 47 in the administration of the PRI Enrique Peña Nieto, and 3 in less than a hundred days of the Andrés Government Manuel López Obrador, from Morena. In addition, 24 journalists continue missing from 2003 to date.

One of the aspects that worries journalists and civic organizations in the exercise of the faculty of the attraction of the Feadle, which they describe as "extremely arbitrary and unclear".

According to Article 19, of the 123 murders of journalists, the Feadle records 89 cases from 2010 to 2018, of which 44 did not find any connection with the journalistic work of the victim, and 45 did find it. Of these last 45 cases, 31 are still pending, while only 4 have been reported or prosecuted.

"Subject to knowing the specific reasons why in 44 cases it was not related to the journalistic exercise, and if they are fully justified and accredited, of the total of 89 homicides registered in that period, there would be an effectiveness of 4.4 per cent in the consignment of investigations for this crime, "the document details.

As for the exercise of powers, the Feadle has exercised this power in only 57 cases from May 2013 to December 2018, which compared to the total of the 735 investigations initiated during that period, represents 7.7 per cent.

In the special report we give an account of this situation through the qualitative analysis of six cases of journalists who have been victims of crimes and violations of their human rights, who have been accompanied and represented by Article 19 in the last five years:

Moisés Sánchez, a journalist who was taken from his home on January 2, 2015, and later murdered, in Medellín, Veracruz, who combined his informative work with social activism in favour of his community.

"The road to justice is a cobbled road where you have to fight against the authorities. In Mexico, there is no interest in solving the cases. Why? We do not know if due to incompetence or complicity, "said Jorge Sanchez, son of Moisés Sánchez, a journalist who was abducted from his home on January 2, 2015, and later murdered, in Medellín, Veracruz.

Moisés combined his informative work with social activism in favour of his community. His son stressed that the investigation has been negligent because "even though the name of the mastermind has not been stopped, there is only one other person detained, and two policemen sentenced. But Omar Cruz, former Medellín mayor and alleged mastermind of the crime, is a fugitive.

"The Prosecutor's Office of Veracruz knows where it is and until today they have protected it," the family member said this morning during the presentation of the report.

The journalist stressed that the country's authority is unfortunately not to guarantee justice and exemplified: "We have a prosecutor who does not serve, who tells you not to review the research folder because there is no progress. To that level of impudence!" he said.

Jorge Sanchez said that as long as they do not detain those responsible for the attacks on journalists, "it can be very easy for the officials to order the assassination." In addition, he stressed that the relatives of victims "we do not want revenge, we want justice."

The young reporter launched a questioning to the new government in relation to where there will be justice "Is the change [is administration] a real change of government or just a change of colour?"

Rubén Espinosa, photojournalist murdered on July 31, 2015, in Mexico City, who weeks earlier moved from the state of Veracruz for acts of harassment and threats against him.

Patricia Espinosa, sister of Rubén Espinosa, a photojournalist killed on July 31, 2015, in Mexico City, said her brother experienced impunity twice: in life and after his murder.

She explained that before the murder Rubén suffered physical attacks, theft of his equipment and weeks before he left the state of Veracruz for acts of harassment and threats against him.

"Talking about impunity is painful because it makes evident the lack of justice, the lack of interest of the authorities, knowledge and preparation of public officials," said the relative.

Patricia Espinoza recriminated that both Miguel Ángel Mancera and officials of his administration, who at the time promised to investigate the case, but did not comply with it and have even revictimized, instead of being sanctioned, they have been rewarded.

He exemplified Miguel Ángel Mancera, who left a strongly pointed administration, now he is a Senator; as well as Rodolfo Ríos, Edmundo Garrido ex-solicitor, who showed the minimum interest; Marco Antonio Reyes and Daniel Marqués investigator showed the minimum interest made malicious comments among them that was a typical case of drugs and prostitution, all promoted from office.

Pedro Canché, a journalist arrested on August 30, 2014, and arbitrarily imprisoned for 9 months in Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Quintana Roo, fabricating the crime of sabotage, just to cover a social protest.

"When I got out of prison I still felt that I had the shackles on my feet," Pedro Canché said.

The journalist said that in the country he is a double victim: "first of the criminals, and also of the justice that pays impunity and gives wings to these criminals."

Canché emphasized that the murders of journalists do not stop and you do not see that this pattern of violence is reversed "and then we ask ourselves: Who will be next?

The journalist said that although former Governor Roberto Borge is in prison, there is no file "not a letter, period or comma against Roberto Borge" because La Feadle says there is no document showing that Borge instructed the attack.

Finally, Canché called on the new government to attend to the cases more quickly, accusing that the President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has responded faster to the mother of Joaquin El Chapo Guzmán than to the widow of journalist Javier Valdez.

Alejandra Rodríguez, a journalist victim of physical and sexual assaults, arbitrarily detained by police of the Public Security Secretariat of the then Federal District, on December 1, 2013, during a social protest in Mexico City.

Journalist Alejandra Rodríguez recalled the physical and sexual assaults she suffered when she was arbitrarily detained. "The case is still forgotten, I have not found an answer, no clear punishment to my aggressors," she said.

Aldo Sotelo, journalist victim of physical aggression on December 14, 2013, in Mexico City, by police elements of the capital, who also forced him to deliver his photographic material where he had documented his arbitrary and illegal acts. "I live an episode that changed my life," he said Monday on his case.

Aldo Sotelo explained that in his case the authorities tried to discredit his testimony and injuries.

"After a year of certifying my injuries, another doctor came to say that they were no injuries," he said.

Sin Embargo, Article 19 also documented the attack on this digital media in 2014, when it was taken offline, as well as receiving threats, intimidation and smear campaigns against its collaborators.

Alejandro Páez Valera, director of contents of SinEmbargo, recalled that in 2014 the web portal of news was attacked, taken offline, received threats, intimidation and smear campaigns against his collaborators, after a photograph of the PRI politician Adrian was published. Rubalcava, in which he showed a weapon and military dress.

The journalist explained that the investigation of the National Security Commission (CNS) managed to identify, through telephone recordings, that Adrian Rubalcava, current Mayor of Cuajimalpa, was behind a network that orchestrated cyber attacks and smear campaigns against various media. communication, such as Aristegui News and Process, however, the case was remitted dead file.

"There is an authority that is responsible for covering up and obstructing the investigation so that it never comes across those responsible," the journalist said.

The activists and journalists called on the new authorities, among other issues, that the authorities refrain from stigmatizing and disqualifying victims of crime and human rights violations as well as not omitting their journalistic work. In this sense, the line of research related to journalism should be a priority; Context analysis should be conducted on the journalistic activity of the victims, leading to evidence or evidence to clarify the facts; investigate and judge from a gender and intercultural perspective; treat victims with respect and dignity; Carry out research plans that provide proper management and order in the files.

via: Zona Franca

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