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Mexico25 February 2005

El Universal confiscated in Hidalgo state over article exposing governor

The confiscation all copies of the national daily El Universal yesterday in Pachuca, the capital of the central state of Hidalgo was a "violation of the right to inform that has no place in a democratic country," Reporters Without Borders protested today. The issue had a report accusing Hidalgo’s governor of lying about having a law degree.

"The fact that the authorities do not like an article in no way allows them to carry out such a crude and abrupt act of censorship," the press freedom organization said in a letter to the federal interior minister. The letter added: "The role of a state governor is to guarantee public freedom. Such an abuse of authority can only expose him to more press criticism and protests from ourselves."

El Universal was nowhere to be found throughout the state of Hidalgo yesterday. Newspaper vendors told Reporters Without Borders that all the copies were seized straightaway by individuals "who appeared to be local government agents" acting in a violent and intimidating manner.

The issue had a front-page article saying Hidalgo governor Miguel Angel Osorio Chong boasted of having a law degree to which he had no right because he only completed part of the course. "Osorio Chong claims to be a lawyer with a false degree," the report said.

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