Afrique Asie Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
 
Mexico5 March 2007

Federal parliament and Inter-American Commission on Human Rights asked to intercede in Oaxaca crisis
Reporters Without Borders sends them chapter on media of fact-finding report by International Civilian Commission for Human Rights Observation

Ms. Rosario Ibarra de Piedra, president of the Senate Human Rights Commission
Mr. Gerardo Priego Tapia, president of the Chamber of Deputies Special Commission for Monitoring Attacks on the Press and Media
Mr. Ignacio Álvarez, special rapporteur for freedom of expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)

Dear Ms. Ibarra, Mr. Priego and Mr. Álvarez,

The International Civilian Commission for Human Rights Observation (CCIODH) - consisting of 41 members of organisations from six countries (France, Spain, Italy, Denmark, United States and New Zealand) - carried out its fifth visit to Mexico from 16 December to 20 January to investigate human rights violations during the social and political crisis in the state of Oaxaca that began last May.

The chapter of the commission’s fact-finding report that deals with the media is made public here by Reporters Without Borders, which was represented on the commission. The full report was already presented to the general public in Mexico City on 3 March. The chapter that follows deals not only with attacks on the media during the conflict, but also the media’s coverage of the conflict.

During its month-long visit, the CCIODH conducted more than 400 interviews with members of civil society and officials in Oaxaca and the federal capital about the uprising by the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) against the Oaxaca state government led by Governor Ulíses Ruiz Ortiz and the very harsh crackdown on this movement by the state government and federal authorities.

The events in Oaxaca left a heavy toll on the press. As well as the occupations of news media by activists, around 20 local and national journalists were subjected to intimidation, physical attacks and torture. Two were killed at the height of the crisis last autumn. Freelance cameraman Bradley Will, 36, of the Indymedia agency was fatally shot on 27 October in the locality of Santa Lucia del Camino. His murder was initially attributed to five state employees, two of whom were arrested and then quickly released. The police subsequently tried to blame the APPO for Will’s death.

The investigation into Will’s death, which is now at a standstill, again highlights the inadequacies of the judicial system and the powerlessness of the office of the special federal prosecutor for crimes against journalists, created on 15 February 2006. Impunity also continues to prevail in the 8 December murder in Santiago Juxtlahuaca of Raúl Marcial Pérez, a columnist for the daily El Gráfico, who was also known as a community leader. It seems that all the possible leads in this case have not been explored.

The crisis in Oaxaca was the climax of an especially grim year for the Mexican press, in which a total of nine journalists were murdered and two disappeared. In the light of the report published by the CCIODH, Reporters Without Borders recommends that:

-  a commission of enquiry of the federal parliament should continue the efforts begun by the CCIODH to shed full light on the human rights and press freedom violations during the events in Oaxaca,

-  this commission should also shed light on the serious abuses of authority by local officials as regards the media, not only in the state of Oaxaca but also in the states of Sonora, Guanajuato and Puebla (see release of 25 January 2007),

-  the commission, in order to do this, should be able to question the governors of the states concerned and the judicial and police officials under their supervision,

-  the office of the special prosecutor for crimes against journalists should have the necessary resources and independence to be able to successfully carry out impartial investigations and guarantee the protection of victims,

-  in the absence of significant progress in the investigations, the cases of journalists murdered in Mexico (Will being the only foreigner among the 30 killed since 2000) should be referred to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

We thank you in advance for giving this matter your careful consideration.

Sincerely,

Robert Ménard
Secretary-General

PDF - 111.8 kb
CCIODH Oaxaca media eng


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 2008
Mexico - Annual report 2007
Mexico - Annual report 2006


reports
14 March 2008 - Cuba
No surrender by independent journalists, five years on from “black spring”
5 June 2007 - Venezuela
Closure of Radio Caracas Televisión consolidates media hegemony
22 May 2007 - Colombia
Paramilitary "black eagles" poised to swoop down on press
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

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

Sign the petitions
Cuba
Miguel Galván Gutiérrez
Cuba
Fabio Prieto Llorente
United States
Chauncey Bailey
A petition to Raúl Castro