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Mexico19 September 2006

Mexico City police beat up three journalists with TV documentary company

Reporters Without Borders today condemned the beating which three journalists working for the Canal 6 de Julio TV documentary production company - Mario Viveros Barrágan, Juan Pablo Ramos Jiménez and Miguel Angel Fuentes Cortina - received at the hands of police officers when they filmed them arresting a gang of youths in the centre of capital on the night of 15 September.

The press freedom organisation called on the special prosecutor for crimes against the press to issue summonses to the Federal District of Mexico City authorities who employ the police suspected of being responsible for the violence.

“This attack is a flagrant violation of press freedom,” Reporters Without Borders said. “It is all the more unacceptable as it was carried out by police who were clearly convinced that their jobs guarantee them impunity. We call on federal justice ministry special prosecutor David Vega Vera to demand an explanation from the Federal District administration and public security directorate and to bring the appropriate charges. There should also be administrative sanctions for this abuse of authority.”

Members of the neighbourhood police and the Mexico City judicial police were arresting young gang members in the heart of a city on the night of 15 September when they suddenly lost their patience with the three Canal 6 de Julio reporters who were filming them.

At first they pushed and beat Viveros and Fuentes. Then about 10 policemen turned on Ramos and dragged him by the hair before kicking and hitting him with batons, as well as smashing his camera and taking the cassette on which he had filmed the arrests. Ramos was hospitalized with multiple bruising.

In a message posted on the company’s website (canalseisdejulio.com), Canal 6 de Julio director Carlos Mendoza lambasted “the negligence and pride of Federal District head of government Alejandro Encinas, government secretary Ricardo Ruiz and Federal District public security secretary Joel Ortega, who have so far refrained from taking any action in this case and are trying to treat it as a bureaucratic detail.”

Created in the late 1980s, Canal 6 de Julio produces documentaries and investigative reports on often controversial subjects such as the militarisation of the southern state of Chiapas after the Zapatista uprising in 1994.



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