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Mexico18 April 2005

Radio journalist Guadalupe García Escamilla dies of gunshot injuries

Journalist Guadalupe García Escamilla, who was shot nine times by un unidentified gunman outside her radio station, Estéreo 91 XHNOE, in Nuevo Laredo (in the northeastern state Tamaulipas) on 5 April, died of her injuries on 16 April. Doctors said the cause of death was the failure of her liver, which was irreversibly damaged by one of the shots.

The fatal shooting of García Escamilla and the 9 April murder of La Opinión editor Raul Gibb Guerrero in the eastern state of Veracruz have produced a reaction from the Mexican authorities. The federal public security department has said it is preparing a system of special protection for journalists in which federal, state and municipal governments will all participate.

12.04.05-Tamaulipas state authorities advise journalists to carry a gun

In a further sign of the mounting dangers for journalists in northern Mexico and the inability of the authorities to protect them and press freedom, the secretary for public security in the northeastern border state of Tamaulipas, Luis Roberto Gutiérrez Flores, told journalists who fear for their lives that they should "fill out an application with the ministry of defence for a permit to carry a gun." He added: "If you meet the requirements, you will be given one."
To get a permit, journalists will have to produce a clean police record, a letter about their psychological history and a letter about their lifestyle and explaining their need for a gun licence. All these documents will have to be signed by a representative of the municipal government or state governor.
Following the 5 April shooting attack on radio journalist Dolores Guadalupe García Escamilla, threats have been made on police radio frequencies against two other journalists, Carlos Figueroa and Santiago Palmeros. The use of police radio frequencies to threaten journalists is a procedure often employed by drug traffickers. The police are giving Figuroa and Palmeros protection.

8.04.05-Surveillance camera recorded shooting of García Escamilla in Nuevo Laredo

A report today on the website of the daily El Universal said a surveillance video camera recorded the shooting attack on Dolores Guadalupe García Escamilla of radio Estéreo 91 XHNOE on 5 April in Nuevo Laredo (in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas). The report said the video recording has been sent to a laboratory in the United States for analysis.

The 39-year-old journalist, who sustained eight gunshot wounds, is still fighting for her life. Following the attack, Tamaulipas state prosecutor Mercedes del Carmen Guillén Vicente announced yesterday that journalists who are particularly at risk will be assigned bodyguards.

6.04.05-Journalist fights for her life after shooting

Reporters Without Borders voiced outrage today at the attempted murder yesterday of Dolores Guadalupe García Escamilla of radio Estéreo 91 XHNOE in Nuevo Laredo (in the northeastern border state of Tamaulipas), who was fighting for her life after receiving multiple gunshot wounds outside the radio station.

"This is the third attack against a journalist since the start of the year in this region, where the press is at great risk," the press freedom organization said.

"We do not want to see a repetition of last year’s shocking events in which five journalists were murdered and local authorities were often implicated," the organization said, adding, "we therefore call on the federal authorities to carry out a thorough investigation in order to expose those responsible and bring them to justice."

An unidentified gunman fired 15 shots at García as she got out of her car outside the radio just before 8 a.m. Eight of the shots hit her, injuring her in the abdomen, chest, arm, left knee and groin. She was rushed to hospital where doctors immediately began operating on her injuries.

According to the most recent reports from her colleagues, she was still in intensive care and in a very serious condition.

García presents a daily spot about crime and public security called "Punto Rojo," which goes out during the morning news programme.

Sources who asked not to be identified said García had in recent days heard threats being made against her on the police radio frequency. The radio messages also referred to the imminent execution of lawyer Fernando Partida Castañeda, who was murdered a few hours before the attack on García in the same district and with a gun of the same calibre.

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