Afrique Asie Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
 
Mexico21 June 2005

Murder, impunity and self-censorship : frontier journalists in a pitiless landscape

PDF - 1.5 Mb

On 22 June 2004, Francisco Javier Ortiz Franco, co-founder and editorialist on the weekly Zeta, was murdered in Tijuana, Lower California State, in the north-west. His killing was the lowest point in a black year for the press in Mexico in which five journalists were murdered.

But his death prompted a growing realisation of the magnitude of the problem within a journalistic community with little tradition for sticking together and above all led the federal government to take over investigations of murders of journalists.

One year after the still unsolved murder of Ortiz Franco, there has been little improvement in the plight of Mexican journalists. In particular in the coastal and border states with the USA, blighted by drug-trafficking, corruption and violence. The year 2005 began tragically with one disappearance and two murders of journalists during the first week of April.

Alfredo Jiménez Mota of the daily El Imparcial in Hermosillo (Sonora, north-west), has been missing without trace since the night of 2 April. On 5 April, radio journalist Dolores Guadalupe García Escamilla was gunned down in front of the headquarters of Stereo 91 XHNOE in Nuevo Laredo (Tamaulipas, north-east). She died of her injuries on 16 April. On 8 April, the editor of the daily La Opinión Raúl Gibb Guerrero was murdered in Veracruz State in the east of the country. These three cases brought to 16 the number of journalists murdered since 2000. And in every case, there was no investigation worth the name leading to the instigators, thus establishing a climate of complete impunity.

How do journalists deal with this violent landscape in Mexico’s border areas? Do they end up resorting to self-censorship to protect themselves? Are local and national media exposed to the same level of risk? Why have investigations into killings of journalists not produced any results? In the search for a reply to all these questions, Reporters Without Borders carried out an on-the-spot investigation from 22-31 May 2005, in the border towns of Tijuana Nuevo Laredo, and Mexico. The organisation’s representatives met local journalists, national media journalists, representatives of the police and judicial authorities, including, state deputy prosecutor José Luis Santiago Vasconcelos. The investigation allowed them to assess the major failings of the public authorities at all three levels: municipal, state and federal. These failings will not ease a volatile presidential campaign building for July 2006.



  In this country
27 May - Mexico
Crime reporter abducted and killed in Durango state
5 May - Mexico
Journalist at odds with local officials gunned down in Durango state
6 March - Mexico
Suspect arrested in photographer’s murder but motive vague
25 February - Mexico
Young radio reporter gunned down in Veracruz state for unclear reasons
22 January - Mexico
Self-censorship, exile or certain death : the choice faced by journalists in Ciudad Juárez

in the annual report
MEXICO - Annual report 2002
Mexico - 2003 Annual Report

Americas archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives

Americas press releases
3 June - United States
President Obama urged to raise freedom of expression in his Cairo speech
29 May - Venezuela
Open letter to President Hugo Chavez to protest about official hounding of Globovisión
20 May - Cuba
Anyone can browse the Internet... unless they are Cuban
15 May - Cuba
Journalist gets three-year jail sentence
15 May - Colombia
Former intelligence officials leak list of news media and journalists whose phones were tapped

Sign the petitions
Cuba
Miguel Galván Gutiérrez
Cuba
Fabio Prieto Llorente
United States
Chauncey Bailey